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The Full Matilda: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

David Haynes
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $6.01 (32%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Kindle Edition $12.99  
Paperback $14.86  
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Book Description

Matilda Housewright hails from a long line of venerable and well-respected African American retainers—her family has been in “service” for generations, serving Washington, D.C., politicos and other upper-crust families. The daughter of the indispensable majordomo Jacob Housewright, Matilda grew up in the house of a powerful D.C. senator and learned how to be a hostess extraordinaire—and has perfected the art of service. But after her father dies and she starts a catering business with her brother, Matilda begins to question who she is and what, exactly, she’s serving. Told in the voices of the men in her life, with connecting interludes from Matilda, the reader indeed gets The Full Matilda, a glorious glimpse inside the intriguing life of a captivating woman in the midst of change as she maneuvers through a web of secrets, expectations, and worn-out social mores.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Housewrights have a family legacy of service, their father, Jacob, having served as the venerable black retainer to a rich and powerful U.S. senator in Washington, D.C. But each successive generation scoffs at the service legacy, gravitating toward the catering business but anxious to drop the subservience of the serving class. Matilda Housewright, the strong-minded and willful daughter of Jacob, provides the focus for this intergenerational novel. After Jacob dies, Matilda's brother, Martin, embarks on a catering business and cuts out Matilda, leaving her on the sidelines. But her impervious nature and impeccable taste keep her at the center of the family as Martin's sons are sent to get the full-Matilda treatment. Alternating between the first-person accounts of Matilda and her brother and the third-person perspectives of Martin's sons, this vibrant family portrait tracks the rise of the Housewrights to a multimillion-dollar food distribution company. Along the way, it traces changes in sensibilities as each generation puts its own stamp on the meaning and manner of service. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“Partly quaint, yet thoroughly contemporary, hilarious, and poignant, this book is, throughout, a gem.” Julianne Malveaux, economist and author of The Paradox of Loyalty: an African-American Response to the War on Terrorism

"…a writer blessed with an ear for the truth and the talent to bring it to life in ever-delightful ways." -- Dallas Morning News on David Haynes

Product Details

  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0767915690
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUBG0A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,524,109 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more to this book August 29, 2004
Read this book. You will love it. At the start of The Full Matilda, David Haynes's writing swept me into the world of propriety, power brokers and the servants who ran the true Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s. The story opens from here and reaches all the way to present day. Matilda makes a complex and headstrong narrator for alternate chapters. Her experience throughout the Civil Rights movement creates a counterpoint to the more contemporary chapters narrated by the men in her family. The Full Matilda builds a subtle yet powerful tension between tradition and change which more closely mirrors my own experience as a minority than any other book I've read. With its humor and reverence this book makes me think deeply about who I am and who I owe for the world I live in. This is one of those rare books which can change your outlook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haynes at his best! May 25, 2004
The Full Matilda is written in the elegant and refined prose of David Haynes, one of America's best literary authors. I loved the comical scenes as well as the bitter sweet scenes that built up to a huge crescendo. Matilda's sacrifice was very disturbing. It was the in-your-face reality of someone in Matilda's position.
Haynes has created a great sense of place that is well grounded in time and space as well as a full fledged family genealogy. I felt the real presence of the Housewright family across the generations and their place in American History.
One of the most remarkable chapters begins on page 320-it is a portrait of the artist as a young man but unlike Joyce, Haynes has ingeniously put it towards the end of the novel rather than at the beginning.
It is very touching that teenagers in their awkward coming-of-age make the time to visit Matilda-the hothouse flower, and that they look forward to spending time with her.
The sprinkling throughout the book of Housewright Maxims was like icing on the cake.
David Haynes's The Full Matilda is a book of substance written in an elegant prose that puts me in mind of Kazuo Ishiguro and Michael Ondaatje. I look forward to Haynes's next work of art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read May 14, 2004
By A Customer
After reading Haynes' The Full Matilda, I was left just that - full. The author manages to capture all the humanity and quirky personas of his characters with humor but with generosity and realism, so that the book is not merely "funny," it is satisfying. You see all sides of the characters, not just their quirkiness or comedy. Just as Matilda's full range of emotions is tapped, so is the reader's, and the writing is engaging from first page to last. One of those books you're sorry to see end. Read it.
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