Even bookworms like me rarely have two peak reading experiences close in time. But fresh on the heels of raving over Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean At The End Of The Lane", I'm obliged to gush again about "The Maid's Version" by Daniel Woodrell. I honestly don't remember the last time two nearly back-to-back novels I've finished unequivocally floored me like these did.
Aside from both being published in 2013 and under 200 pages, the books are fairly dissimilar. Gaiman's novel is an English fable about a boy/man and the three mysterious women who first act as his protector and later his memory. Woodrell's book has a reportorial tone telling its story of a fire in a Missouri town and the have/have not divide. Aside from the prologue and epilogue, "The Ocean..." moves in a linear fashion with a small cast; "The Maid's Version" jumbles the chronology and has a much larger cast with exquisitely drawn miniatures. Gaiman's language sparkles; Woodrell's is matter-of-fact and idiomatic.
With so many authors still to sample that I haven't yet read, reading a second book by any author is not a decision I make lightly. There is no question I'll be returning to Neil Gaiman and Daniel Woodrell. If any of you have recommendations written by these two superb craftsmen, please share with me and others.