The Maid’s Version
by Daniel Woodrell
Reviewed by Will Mallon
If Daniel Woodrell’s name is new to you, think Winter’s Bone. If you don’t know Winter’s Bone, well, you should read it right now. Woodrell’s ‘The Maid’s Version’ is more a novella. With each turn of the page his writing effortlessly becomes an oral history with the creation of deep, rich and interesting characters.
The story in ‘The Maid’s Version’ unfolds in a small, 1929 depression era town of West Table, Missouri. The town is rocked by a late night dance hall explosion. Alma, an elderly maid, recounts the explosion changed her life, the town and its inhabitants forever. Was the fire an accident? Was it deliberate? Was there a cover up?
As Wodrell’s prose shifts from narrative to whodunit, there is a warmth in his writing that few writers can achieve. The story never feels forced and feels more like a story that has been told generation after generation. Each generation making the story more succinct, more compelling and more entrenched in the history of West Table.