The Maid's Version

A Novel

Woodrell, Daniel

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Maid's Version
"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."-- Dust jacket flap.

Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2013.
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780316205856
Characteristics: 164 pages ;,22 cm


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Jan 30, 2015

Poorly written by local author.
Jumped our too much. Did not finish it.

Oct 22, 2014
  • JCLBrianB rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Woodrell does an admirable job painting realistic, detailed, and vibrant characters. This novel about a town ripped apart by tragedy, and the effect this tragedy has on the town throughout multiple generations, echoes former greats like "Winesburg, Ohio" and "The Scarlet Letter." I personally found the non-linear chronology sometimes hard to follow, but it does help give a sense of the ripple through time that our actions can cause.

May 18, 2014
  • finn75 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Small town characters dissected by one of the elderly residents of the town. She is still grieving and bitter after the death of her sister in a town tradgedy that isn't explained until the very end. Clever.

Feb 13, 2014
  • jennilynbarry rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I really enjoy Woodrell's language and descriptive voice but this jumped around a lot through time periods so I had to read closely. I had a hard time empathizing with the characters and struggled to find anyone to root for because of the non linear telling. Thank goodness it was brief otherwise I may not have finished it.

Feb 01, 2014
  • confidential_me rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

It was an interesting story, but the writing style was less linear than I'm used to and that made it a little confusing. Actually though, thinking about talking to older relatives about things that happened in their pasts, they do sometimes retell them in a fashion similar to the way the author has written. "Let me see, it was the spring... and then 'so and so' ...[insert whole history of 'so-and-so' before returning to event retelling]...and then ... and that's what happened. " But I wasn't thinking about that while reading the book. Still, I would have followed it a little more easily if it had been more chronological.

Dec 16, 2013

"A maid for a prominent family in Missouri chases down justice after her younger sister is one of 42 people killed at a mysterious explosion at a local dance hall in this new novel from the author of Winter's Bone." Fiction A to Z December 2013 newsletter

Nov 04, 2013
  • JimmyGman rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Slow start...gave up. Maybe someone out there likes boring short novels. Try this one.

Oct 07, 2013
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

In this short novel, the narrator's grandmother tells the story of a deadly fire in 1929 and who might have been responsible for it. The many vignettes of some of the victims breaks up the narrative, but nevertheless the writing is wonderful.

Sep 26, 2013
  • madison382 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book was very hard for me to get through.

Aug 30, 2013
  • JCLRachelSH rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In Daniel Woodrell’s first novel since Winter’s Bone, he writes about his own father’s mother: a maid who married a drunk and worked in the kitchen of the richest man in West Table, Missouri. One night, an explosion burns down a dance hall and kills 42 people in an unsolved tragedy that the town still whispers about to this day. With his trademark grit and haunting prose straight from the bowels of the Missouri Ozarks, Woodrell explores the schism between the haves and the have-nots, the wounds of fathers and sons, and the story his own grandma — the maid — whispered to him about what really happened that tragic night in 1929.


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