Matilda Housewright hails from a long line of venerable and well-respected African American retainers—her family has been in “service” for generations, serving Washington, D.C., politicos and other upper-crust families. The daughter of the indispensable majordomo Jacob Housewright, Matilda grew up in the house of a powerful D.C. senator and learned how to be a hostess extraordinaire—and has perfected the art of service. But after her father dies and she starts a catering business with her brother, Matilda begins to question who she is and what, exactly, she’s serving. Told in the voices of the men in her life, with connecting interludes from Matilda, the reader indeed gets The Full Matilda, a glorious glimpse inside the intriguing life of a captivating woman in the midst of change as she maneuvers through a web of secrets, expectations, and worn-out social mores.
About the Author
DAVID HAYNES is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Southern Methodist University in Texas. Named one of America's best young novelists by Granta, Haynes has had his short stories recorded for National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including All American Dream Dolls, Live at Five, and Somebody Else’s Mama.
"In this era of service with a snarl, The Full Matilda is a tribute to a period past, a time when the napkin was starched, Negroes' eyes were down turned, language was coded, and, nonetheless, progress was made. Fast forward to Afros, police brutality, and interracial relationships, all filtered through Matilda Housewright -- a remarkable maiden aunt with ramrod stiff posture -- and you have the basis for an absorbing read. David Haynes has done a masterful job of depicting the men in Matilda's life. Partly quaint, yet thoroughly contemporary, hilarious and poignant, this book is, throughout, a gem."
--Julianne Malveaux, Economist and Author
The Paradox of Loyalty: an African-American Response to the War on Terrorism