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By Hillary Jordan
328 pages. Algonquin Books. $22.95.

In Hillary Jordan’s first novel, the forces of change and resistance collide with terrible consequences. Set in Mississippi just after World War II, the story is told by a chorus of narrators who alternate throughout the book: Laura McAllan, whose husband, Henry, has moved her from her city life in Memphis to a Mississippi Delta farm; Henry himself; his charming drunken brother Jamie; and the farm’s share tenants, Florence and Hap Jackson and their son Ronsel, a veteran who fought in Europe. It is a novel of place as much as people. “Here was a long, rickety house with a warped tin roof and shuttered windows that had neither glass nor screens,” Ms. Jordan writes of Laura’s first view of the farm. “Here was a dirt yard with a pump in the middle of it, shaded by a large oak tree that had somehow managed to escape razing by the original steaders. Here was a barn, a pasture, a cotton house, a corncrib, a pig wallow, a chicken coop and an outhouse.

“Here was our new home.”

The book won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Fiction, which goes to an unpublished manuscript that addresses issues of social justice. The $25,000 prize is awarded in even-numbered years; it was founded and is financed by the writer Barbara Kingsolver.

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  • Tod M.

    Good book and interesting discussion. Good group, as usual.

    March 28, 2013

  • Cathy W.

    It was a great discussion. Really enjoyed the group.

    March 28, 2013

  • David S.

    Great comments for old and new members. Mudbound - stuck in the mud or headed toward the mud - Good one, Paul.

    March 28, 2013

  • Melanie W.

    Sorry, something has come up. Have good evening!

    March 26, 2013

  • Tod M.

    Really liked the book.

    March 26, 2013

  • Clay W.

    It's turning into another hectic week.

    March 25, 2013

  • Michelle S.

    I'm looking forward to this!

    March 22, 2013

  • Peter

    This book was chosen tonight out of three presented by Christina. The "fails" were Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Dogs of Babel by Caroline Parkhurst. Better luck next time Jonathan!

    January 30, 2013

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