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The Maid's Version: A Novel Hardcover – September 3, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
This amazing little book has as its centerpiece the mystery surrounding an explosion at a small-town Missouri dance hall back in 1929. Forty-two people were killed and many more injured. One of those killed was a young woman named Ruby, the beloved younger sister of one of the book's main characters, Alma Dunahew. We know that Ruby was having affairs with married men and we know that the town had problems with mobsters, gypsies and even a vengeful preacher who warned against dancing and partying. What we don't know until the end is just who was really to blame.
When the book first starts out we are introduced to Alma from the viewpoint of her 12 year old grandson who is briefly staying with her. From the opening line we see Alma brushing her floor-length grey/white hair and her grandson is a little apprehensive of her. We find out that Alma has had an incredibly difficult life and that she had been estranged for a while from her own son's life. The reasons for that become clear as we read on.
The story jumps around and is told from the viewpoints of many different characters at different points in time. The relevance of some of these characters can become clear at the end of their little chapter but often we don't really understand their importance until later on. For example we may meet someone in one vignette and come to briefly know them and then find out they were killed at the dance hall; and in that way we truly feel the extent of the tragedy and loss. Many of the characters we meet are central to the mystery of what happened and to our understanding of how the characters evolved into the people they are. Their histories and backstories are often brutal and heartbreaking.Read more ›
In 1929, the small community of West Table, Missouri was rocked by a fire and explosion in the Arbor Dance Hall, which killed 42 people. As with any tragedy, immediately talk turned to the causes of this disaster and who was responsible. Was it caused by the local gypsies? Mobsters from St. Louis on the hunt for one of their own? The frenzy unleashed by a preacher who lashed out at the immoral behavior of the dancers and partiers? Or was it simply a tragic accident?
Alma DeGeer Dunahew knows what caused the tragedy that killed her flirtatious sister, Ruby. But Alma, who works as a maid for one of West Table's most prominent families, is viewed as crazy by the town citizens, many of whom don't really want to know what happened that night, or are willing to turn a blind eye to the truth if it protects the town from the effects of the Great Depression. Her need to speak the truth leads her to lose her job, her mind, and estranges her from one of her sons, John Paul.
Years later, Alma finally has the opportunity to tell her story from start to finish, to her grandson, Alek.Read more ›
Each person in this book is revealed in short vignettes that interact in a dance that soon appears to have been almost inevitable. Alma had known them all in her role as a servant from a poor family.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was hard to follow the story line, until the end explained what was going on.Published 13 days ago by Noreen Patterson
The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell is a greatly detailed novel that sets in 1965 in West Table, Missouri. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Terrible book...a total waste of money!! Sorry...have to be truthful!!Published 4 months ago by Adriana Stewart
The voice changes often in this wonderful novel, but human frailty that leads to tragedy is voiced by many of them. The characters were alive, and the story was spell binding. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Quilter55
I love just about everything I've ever read by Dan Woodrell and this was one of his best. It's complex, the characters are well developed, and the ending as always was a surprise.Published 6 months ago by Kathleen L. Nickason
I know I'd rate this higher if I read it again and charted who was related to whom and how from the very beginning.Published 6 months ago by Judy Luxford