The Maid's Version

The Maid's Version

A Novel

Book - 2013
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In 1929, Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the maid for a prominent family in Missouri, chases down justice after her younger sister is one of forty-two people killed in a mysterious explosion at a local dance hall.
Publisher: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316205856
Branch Call Number: FIC Woodr
Characteristics: 164 pages ; 22 cm.


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ArapahoePamelaH Jun 03, 2019

Set in 1928 - and later - after an explosion and fire in a dance hall. A slight book, to be savored: based on an historical event, flawed characters, non-linear plot development, and lyrical writing.

amf_0 Jul 25, 2018

Not your -run-of-the-mill mystery, but rather a study of the characters and events in small town West Table. Needs close reading but ultimately reveals a clever ending.

DBRL_IdaF Feb 12, 2017

The Maid's Version is fiction based on a true event. In 1928, a dance hall in West Plains, Missouri mysteriously blew up as a dance was in progress, killing dozens of people and leaving many others with crippling injuries, a huge loss for a small town. The investigation never resolved what happened, though people speculate to this day.

The town in this version is called West Table and the conflagration takes place in 1929. Woodrell is a native of the area, so his descriptions and characters are spot on. His narrator is Alek Dunahew, recounting what he heard from his grandmother, Alma, the summer he was twelve.

Alma worked as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in town. Her sister, Ruby, was killed in the explosion. Alma believed she had pieced together what happened and who was involved, but good luck getting anyone to listen to the illiterate wife of the town drunk, especially when she was casting aspersions on the rich and powerful.

The tales is recounted in the way family stories are told, not as a linear narrative, but in bits and pieces, with many digressions. Still, it all comes together in a surprisingly short page count.

Jan 26, 2016

How did the dance hall fire that killed and maimed many peopled in a small Missouri town in 1929 come to happen? No one was ever charged but that hasn't stopped years of speculation. Fast forward to the 1960s when a young boy visits his grandmother—once a maid in a prominent home—who just might have an answer she wants to pass on.
Woodrell’s novel is cleverly told in a voice that harkens to that earlier time in the Ozarks and with characters you’ll not soon forget. Very good.

Jan 30, 2015

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

JCLBrianB Oct 22, 2014

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

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

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

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.

ChristchurchLib 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

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