The Maid's Version: A Novel

By Daniel Woodrell
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company, (9/3/2013)
Language:English



Average Rating:
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3.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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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.
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Ceci's thoughts on "The Maid's Version: A Novel"
updated on:11/2/2013

You will be hard pressed to find a single flaw among the well-chosen words, beautifully drafted sentences, and surprisingly hilarious observations that comprise this short novel. At first, too caught up in the master craftsmanship, I was not at all taken in by the book. But, after two seemingly underwhelming chapters, I decided to start over from the beginning, and the second time around I realized the key to this short novel is that it can – and should – be read from start to finish in just one or two sittings. Read like that, it’s as if you are listening to a fireside tale. All the social conflicts, sibling solidarity, and small town pettiness, rivalries, and unexpected kindnesses weave themselves into the real life fairy tale/nightmare told by Alma and her grandson. THE MAID’S VERSION is not a page-turner. It’s not intended that way. In the end, the answer to “who-done-it?” really is just the “maid’s version” after all. We are meant to savor every word and hopefully feel as satisfied at the end of the story as Alma’s boys are after eating a bowl of her ramshackle stew. I definitely was. If others aren’t, well that sounds like the making of a great book club discussion.

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Book Junky's thoughts on "The Maid's Version: A Novel"
updated on:11/1/2013

I would call this a good book for a writer's class. It has excellent writing and tone, and presents a story in a unique fashion. After that… um, it was just kind of boring. Now I fully admit, my opinion of this book may be being tainted since I am super swamped this month, but I just never got to the point where I was excited to pick this book up again. I could not even use it as a distraction. In fact, most nights I'd crawl in bed eager to do some reading, then realize, "Oh, crumbs, I'm still reading this book." But, like I said, my opinion may be tainted this month. But… even looking back on it, I don't find it to be discussable. I mean I am trying to come up with a relevant discussable question right now, maybe about poverty and ramification, etc. and I got NOTHING. Because none of that was really that relevant to the "mystery of the explosion." The interweaving of the story lines and how they all came together to create the conditions of the explosion is interesting and well conceive, but even that was anti-climactic. If you are a fiction writer, definitely give this a go. Otherwise… I'd pass on this one.



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"The Maid's Version: A Novel"
By Daniel Woodrell

Average Rating:
Unleash it
3.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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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.



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