In 1928, an explosion and fire at a dance hall in West Plains, Mo., left a good portion of the town’s young people dead or injured. Today, the story of that Ozarks tragedy lives on in Daniel Woodrell’s new novel, The Maid’s Version.
As book maven Lynn Neary reports, the novel closely follows Woodrell’s own West Plains family history. Alma, the fictional maid of the title, is even based on his own grandmother, and reviewer Ellah Allfrey writes, “it is Alma’s grief that makes this a truly memorable read.”
You can check out an excerpt of The Maid’s Version here. (And if you’re in the mood for another dark, Ozarks story, we’ve got an excerpt of Woodrell’s 2006 novel, Winter’s Bone, here.)
(Photo: The site of the West Plains dance hall, the day after the 1928 fire. Credit: Joe R. Aid, Jr./Courtesy Toney Aid)