Book Review

The Maid's Version (2013)

THE HELP Author Daniel Woodrell's The Maid's Version is full of sensational writing and compelling characters
THE HELP Author Daniel Woodrell's The Maid's Version is full of sensational writing and compelling characters
EW's GRADE
A

Details Release Date: Sep 03, 2013; Writer: Daniel Woodrell; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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

Originally posted Aug 28, 2013 Published in issue #1275 Sep 06, 2013 Order article reprints
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