At a slim 164 pages, it’s tempting to call this tale, The Maid’s Version, of a deadly dance-hall explosion in West Table, Mo., in 1929 a novella — until you read the first dense, dazzling paragraph. It’s almost as if Woodrell, the master of celebrated Ozark-gothic reveries like Winter’s Bone, writes his sentences in clotted cream, where other authors work in skim milk. In just a few curlicued lines, dozens of West Table’s citizens — bankers and derelicts, brimstone preachers and good-time girls — are brought vividly to life. (Some of them are among the 42 victims of the blast; others might be the cause of it.) Maid’s is a whodunit, but really it’s the who and not the dun that stays with you: Characters are drawn with such skill and sympathy that every fate resonates. A
THE HELP Author Daniel Woodrell's The Maid's Version is full of sensational writing and compelling characters
Genre: Fiction; Author: Daniel Woodrell; Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Posted August 30 2013 — 12:00 AM EDT
- 'Queen of Katwe' story inspired Alicia Keys to write a new song
- Sebastian Stan joins Steven Soderbergh's heist film 'Logan Lucky'
- Three Rounds: Sunday Funday with the cast of 'You're the Worst'
- Teyana Taylor, star of Kanye West's 'Fade' video, cast in VH1's 'The Breaks'
- 'Phantasm: Remastered' poster: The Tall Man gets a grip
- WATCH: Here's your exclusive first look at 'Project Runway' season 15
- Marvel Tsum Tsums go from plush to digital in new mobile game
- 11 of the Best 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' Guest Stars
- 'Easy': 12 Exclusive First Look Photos
- First Look: Jyn Erso Toys from 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
- Darth Vader, Voldemort, and 7 Other Pop Culture Comparisons to Donald Trump
- Celebrity Professors: See Stars Who Make the Grade
- 55 Books to Read This Fall