Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The Mansion, William Faulkner, Random House Inc, 1959, 436 pp

The Mansion completes the Snopes trilogy (The Hamlet, 1940 and The Town, 1957.) This novel follows Faulkner's fictional town of Jefferson, MS, all the way up to early 1950s, but since a small Southern town was still quite behind the times in the 1950s and since Faulkner writes always within the hovering shadows of history, it barely feels like a modern story.

The resident psychopath in this volume is Mink Snopes. He is, as they say in the South, a piece of work, who could only have been created by this author: a man of almost zero consequence except for his ability to hold a grudge with the patience of Job.

Other characters whom I have, in a weird sense, grown fond of throughout the trilogy, live out their destinies. All of these destinies are intertwined to such a degree that one small action by a single individual can produce major ripples in the lives of the others. It is these outcomes which drive the plot through the dense thickets of Faulkner's prose.

As always when I read Faulkner, I passed through all the emotions known to man. I struggled with his confounding sentences as I marveled at the sheer storytelling rhythms of his characters' voices. I wanted to quit the book but was compelled to read on. Through the tiny prism of his imagined Yoknapatawpha county, he illuminates all of mankind and especially American mankind. Reading him feels like something that is supposed to be good for you. In the end, it is!

(The Mansion is available in paperback and Google eBook by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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