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The Maid's Version

Amazon.com Review: An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013 (also a Big Fall Books Preview 2013 selection): From the opening line--"She frightened me at every dawn that summer..."--Daniel Woodrell sets a spooky tone in his ninth novel (his first since Winter's Bone). Based on a true story, this slim volume reimagines the horrific night when dozens were killed in a mysterious explosion at an Ozarks dance hall, the night "all hell came callin'." Years later, in the summer of 1965, our narrator's grandmother tells him her version of that night’s events and, eventually, the boy’s father encourages him, "Go on and tell it." The result is a story of hard times and hard people, of secrets, betrayals, and revenge. The murky, resilient truth of that night ripples across the family’s future, unfolding on the page like a mash-up of Faulker, Flannery O'Connor, Johnny Cash, and the bible. This is an entirely original, brutal, and darkly elegant book, and Woodrell is a storyteller at the top of his game. --Neal Thompson

From Booklist: In his first novel in seven years, Woodrell (Winter’s Bone, 2006) returns to the Ozarks to tell the story of a catastrophe based on a real-life occurrence. Alek Dunahew is sent to live with his grandmother, the former housemaid Alma DeGeer Dunahew. Haunted by the death of her sister, Ruby, in the explosion of the Arbor Dance Hall in 1928, Alma’s views of the cause of the disaster created a schism between her and one of her sons. But Alek is curious and listens carefully, tucking away Alma’s stories of her drunken husband, her wild sister, and her affair with Alma’s employer and the mysterious whisperings about mobsters and shootings. Told in meandering flashbacks with a lyrical cadence, the story is gripping and heartrending at the same time. Interspersed with Alma’s memories are vignettes of some of the victims of the explosion and how they happened to be at the dance hall on that particular night. With this book, Woodrell confirms his place among the literary masters. --Elizabeth Dickie

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  • Jennifer

    Hey, turns out Doolins is no more. Normally I call, but didn't this month. We are uprooting to Saledelia instead.

    October 27, 2014

    • Katherine L

      I'm at one of the round tables in the side room!

      October 27, 2014

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