The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
A Novel

88%

5 Critic Reviews

The author does not pass judgment, but the reader is left in no doubt that, regardless of the injustices that let a crime go unpunished, the lost live on, as long as there is someone to hear the story, and to tell it.
-NPR

Synopsis

The American master's first novel since Winter's Bone (2006) tells of a deadly dance hall fire and its impact over several generations.

Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the mother of three young boys, works as the maid for a prominent citizen and his family in West Table, Missouri. Her husband is mostly absent, and, in 1929, her scandalous, beloved younger sister is one of the 42 killed in an explosion at the local dance hall. Who is to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? The embittered local gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?

Alma thinks she knows the answer-and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. Her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. By telling her story to her grandson, she finally gains some solace-and peace for her sister. He is advised to "Tell it. Go on and tell it"-tell the story of his family's struggles, suspicions, secrets, and triumphs.
 

About Daniel Woodrell

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Five of Daniel Woodrell's eight published novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel in 1999. Woodrell lives in the Ozarks near the Arkansas line with his wife, Katie Estill.
 
Published September 3, 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. 177 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Maid's Version
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 07 2013

This may be a minor work for this major American writer, but no craftsman toiling away in a workshop ever fashioned his wares so carefully. A commanding fable about trespass and reconstruction from a titan of Southern fiction.

Read Full Review of The Maid's Version: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 24 2013

From an economy of poetic prose springs forth an emotionally volcanic story of family, justice, and the everlasting power of the truth.

Read Full Review of The Maid's Version: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Hall on Aug 23 2013

Daniel Woodrell has made a name as a master of prose with personality – a densely descriptive, gamey form of storytelling, one might say traditional storytelling – of late rather an unfashionable mode.

Read Full Review of The Maid's Version: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 24 2013

From an economy of poetic prose springs forth an emotionally volcanic story of family, justice, and the everlasting power of the truth.

Read Full Review of The Maid's Version: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Ellah Allfrey on Sep 06 2013

The author does not pass judgment, but the reader is left in no doubt that, regardless of the injustices that let a crime go unpunished, the lost live on, as long as there is someone to hear the story, and to tell it.

Read Full Review of The Maid's Version: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for The Maid's Version
64%

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'