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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling conclusion to the Snopes trilogy
Surprisingly enough, I found The Mansion to be the best novel in Faulkner's impressive Snopes trilogy. Flem Snopes, the devious and underhanded antihero of The Hamlet and The Town is on a crash course with Mink Snopes, the unbalanced family member whom Flem allowed to be imprisoned for murder nearly four decades earlier. The paths of these two characters converge with...
Published on August 22, 2001 by Steve

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read.
If you've ever read Faulkner you know his writing can be difficult to understand because of the age it was written in. But I did stick it out thru the whole book and on the whole I once I got to know the characters it went easier.
Published 20 months ago by Linda McClellan


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling conclusion to the Snopes trilogy, August 22, 2001
By 
Steve (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
Surprisingly enough, I found The Mansion to be the best novel in Faulkner's impressive Snopes trilogy. Flem Snopes, the devious and underhanded antihero of The Hamlet and The Town is on a crash course with Mink Snopes, the unbalanced family member whom Flem allowed to be imprisoned for murder nearly four decades earlier. The paths of these two characters converge with fascinating inevitability, as Gavin Stevens and Linda Snopes finally arrive at a crossroads in their own relationship. The Mansion is a satisfying conclusion to a story that spans over forty years in the history of Jefferson, Mississippi; the Snopes trilogy is a must-read for Faulkner fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The trilogy ends on melancholic note., March 1, 2002
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This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
William Faulkner wraps up the epic saga of the Snopes family by telling the story of the monstrous Mink, a convicted amoral murderer and victim of counsin Flem's conniving ways. Several other characters from various other stories come and go, allowing Faulkner to wrap up another Jefferson tale or two. As is the case with all of Faulkner's tales, the story has a deeper significance to the human condition. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Faulkner's Mansion are many rooms, January 10, 2009
By 
Daniel Myers (Greenville, SC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
I read the first two books of the Snopes trilogy, The Hamlet and The Town, many years ago, so it is lucky for me that this concluding novel more or less retells the main events of the previous two novels - albeit from different points of view - from the start. So, let me get one thing that irritated and disappointed me, by turns, throughout the novel out of the way: Faulkner is rather sloppy here concerning his interior monologues and, indeed, exterior dialogues. Having a Harvard educated lawyer (viz., Gavin Stevens) saying "ain't" is just as grating as hearing an illiterate tenant farmer (viz., Mink Snopes) thinking in fifty dollar words. One only has to contrast the effect here to the masterfully controlled interior monologue of "the idiot" (q.v. Macbeth-"...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing") Benji in The Sound and the Fury to see how striking is the difference.

Nevertheless, I think this a very worthwhile book because - as another reviewer has stated - it deals with the human condition, more particularly with the fallen state of man. Also, I had well-nigh forgotten how addictive Faulkner's prose style becomes after one adjusts to it. He seems to have never met an adverbial phrase he didn't like, nor a restating of matters with a slightly different nuance which he couldn't resist putting to paper. But the more one reads, the more acutely one becomes aware of how accurately this mimics life itself, in which we constantly relive the past in our minds and in which we dwell in a constantly changing state of uncertainty regarding the motives of those closest to us and even of ourselves.

I think it more than a bit of an over-simplification to say that this trilogy and that this novel are merely about the rise and fall of the vile, money-grubbing Snopes clan - though, on one level, it's certainly the plot line. But, as ever with Faulkner, the book is about far more than mere plot. There are so many themes here that I can't do justice to them all. I certainly can't do justice to the knight-errant psychology of Gavin Stevens. So, let me just advert to one question he poses: "If mankind matched his dreams too, where would his dreams be?" This question is the most concise explanation of his fear of consummation and all his other actions. He values his dream life. But the main character of the book, as far as overarching import is concerned, in the beginning of the book and the end, is the aforementioned unlettered tenant farmer and twice murderer Mink Snopes, who serves as an avenging angel of Fate, or of our fallen nature, or call it what you will here, to whose death Faulkner devotes the final words of the book:

"...himself among them, equal to any, good as any, brave as any, being inextricable from, anonymous with all of them: the beautiful, the splendid, the proud and the brave, right up to the very top itself among the shining phantoms and dreams which are the milestones of the long human recording - Helen and the bishops, the kings and the unhomed angels, the scornful and graceless seraphim."

I could go on, but this is an Amazon review, not a dissertation. Suffice it to say that in Faulkner's mansion are many themes, all of them deep and well-worth exploring.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating portrait of the deep South, October 2, 2001
By 
Annette M.T. Homiller (Cary, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
This book (The Mansion) was my first experience with William Faulkner. I plan to read more. Despite his tendency towards long sentences that are impossible to parse, Faulkner has created an extremely compelling story chronicling 40 years in the history of a family and a town in the deep South. Having been raised in the South (although certainly long after the setting of these events), I found many of the characters, and certainly some of the attitudes towards the rest of the world, eerily familiar.
This epic of the rise and fall of the Snopes family illustrates the tremendous impact a single family can have on a community, especially when that family is driven by naked ambition. In the course of his narrative Faulkner also reveals how the inhabitants of a small town in the South viewed such events as World Wars I and II, the New Deal, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement.
Although this book is the last of a trilogy, I found it to stand on its own very well. In fact, the first chapter stands on its own and is worth reading all by itself - in my view it's a near-perfectly constructed short story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the end of a wonderful trilogy, December 30, 2005
By 
T. Scherff (Pebble Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
"the mansion" is faulkner's memorable conclusion to the excellent snopes trilogy. Although it can be read on its own, it is best appreciated as the third in a series.

Let me first start by commenting on the trilogy as a whole (you can see my reviews on the first two books). This trilogy provides excellent overall background to all the novels of faulkner. In it he talks about most of the main characters of yoknapatawpha county, mississippi which run through all of his work. "The mansion" in particular ties many of these people and history together. In addition to that, it tells the fascinating story of the snopes family.

In "the mansion" faulkner retells most of what has occurred in the prior two books. This allows the reader to enjoy this novel on its own. For the trilogy reader he makes it interesting by changing the point of view. In "the town" v. k. ratliff tells the story of mink snopes and his murder of jack houston. In the retelling in "the mansion" the story is told by mink himself; a totally different perspective. Faulkner also, in sections of the book, reverts back to the omniscient narrator in this book whereas in "the town" 3 individuals tell the story from their perspective. point of view is one of the most intriguing aspects of faulkner's style.

In this novel, he concludes the stories of the main snopes' characters and other characters in the trilogy. There is a clear air of fate that doesn't appear in the other novels. The story centers on mink, linda, and flem. Each ones destiny is irreversible. Even gavin stevens is fated to become a co-conspirator in murder.

As before, we never see into the head of the main character, flem snopes. He has clearly become bored with life as he defeated everyone in his way to becoming the most powerful person in jefferson. Why, at the end he takes no steps to save himself from mink is described by ratliff like rules of the game he has been playing. Is he also bored with life?

Faulkner is a masterful writer. This trilogy is not his best work, but it is excellent literature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faulkner ends the Snopes trilogy on an epic level, April 1, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
This book makes slogging through The Town very much worth it. Although the Town is an excellent book, it serves mostly to set the groundwork (whether he intended it or not) for this absolutely fabulous text.
Mink Snopes, cousin of Flem Snopes as well as victim of his kinsman's steady rise to the top of Yoknapatawpha County's high society, returns from prison to seek revenge. It is described in almost mythic prose. Also, causing Flem no small amount of grief, is his daughter's continuing relationship with anti-Snopesian, Gavin Stevens.
Along the way, several dozen Snopeses come and go. And we learn the final fate of the Compsons from the Sound and the Fury.
It sounds like a hoity-toity soap opera, but this is one soap opera that will stick to the ribs of your soul.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reads Great, Less Filling…, August 26, 2014
By 
M. Buzalka (cleveland, oh usa) - See all my reviews
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If you want to go on a reduced-calorie Faulkner diet, this is the book for you. While The Mansion retains the outward feel of a triple cream William Faulkner confection such as Absalom Absalom or The Sound and the Fury, it proves a lot more digestible.

Indeed, while the prose in The Mansion looks at first glance like vintage William with its parade of compound-complex, interjection-heavy sentences, it is, truth be told, actually not that hard to read. In fact, this is that rarety of rarities, an honest-to-gosh Faulkner beach read that offers a rather straightforward love/revenge-laden plot (with, granted, a couple of detours, but they are entertaining detours). You won't be bored or taxed too much.

The Mansion was Faulkner's penultimate novel, something that of course he couldn't have known at the time, but there is nevertheless an elegiac feel to it, with its meditations on the passage of time and the changes wrought in over the course of some 40 years. That's highlighted by the perspective of Mink Snopes, who experiences the changes after spending almost four decades in prison.

Faulkner also waxes nostalgic by alluding at various times along the way to just about every one of his major Yoknapathawpha County works. It's touch-em-all time as references are made to incidents from Sartoris, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom Absalom, "The Bear" and of course The Hamlet and The Town, the two precursor novels to The Mansion in Faulkner's Snopes trilogy.

At the heart of the plot is the determination of Mink to kill his kinsman Flem Snopes for not helping him stay out of prison for a murder he had committed in The Hamlet. The other major plot thread is the relationship of Gavin Stevens, the meddlesome Harvard/Heidelberg-educated local district attorney, with Linda Snopes, daughter of Stevens' first love Eula, who had married Flem but then carried on a long affair with Major de Spain, a local banking bigwig. This relationship was a highlight The Town, at the end of which Eula had committed suicide, freeing Linda to leave Yoknapathawpha County. She winds up in New York City where she marries a Commie sculptor and gets involved in left-wing politics. Naturally, this being the 1930s, they go to Spain to help the Loyalists, where the husband gets himself killed and Linda loses her hearing. She then comes home to live with her (supposed) father Flem, which of course gives Stevens more to fret about.

I won't give away any more of the plot but will say that The Mansion demonstrates that Faulkner had pretty much run dry on profundities by this point and decided to at least be entertaining. The narrative is provided in different places by straight third-person exposition and first-person narration from Stevens, local gadabout V.K. Ratliff and Stevens' nephew Chick Mallison. These were the also narrators in The Town but I'm not sure how much they contribute here. Ratliff especially seems to have reached his expiration date by this point as an interesting point of view.

If you want to go full Faulkner, read the early masterpieces. Once you've finished those, the Snopes trilogy (and you should read them in order) make a sweet (and not too filling) palate cleanser. That goes especially for The Mansion.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Uneven, but Interesting, May 5, 2006
This review is from: The Mansion (Mass Market Paperback)
I've heard people talk about the best approach to reading Faulkner, and the best book to begin with. I don't think this is a good book to start with - too much of Faulkner's previous work crowds this text for it to make sense to someone without exposure to some of his earlier work. But I think the Snopes trilogy, and especially this book, is some of Faulkner's most important (and most neglected) work.

The Snopes trilogy follows the fortunes of the Snopes family, and especially Flem Snopes, as they invade and virtually conquer Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County. The trilogy starts with The Hamlet, published in 1940 before Faulkner was a Nobel laureate and a famous author. This book is often considered one of his great works, and I recommend it. The second book in the trilogy, The Town, is a bit less interesting because it focuses so much on Gavin Stevens and his obsession with Eula Varner Snopes and then her daughter Linda. I suppose I got a little tired of the dirty old man staring at the little girl thing.

Anyway, in The Mansion, Flem has risen to the presidency of one of Jefferson's two banks. He lives in the old Sartoris mansion (hence the title) with his daughter (since his wife committed suicide at the end of The Town - sorry to ruin that book for you). As the book progresses, Gavin Stevens moves closer to Linda, though they don't seem to end up together. And Mink Snopes, a cousin of Flem who killed his neighbor Jack Houston in The Hamlet, is getting out of prison (through the intervention of Linda Snopes and Gavin Stevens), and he wants to kill Flem.

Basically, the book jumps back and forth between these two components: the Gavin/Linda exchanges, and the Mink Snopes quest for revenge. Mink is an illiterate sharecropper who seems incapable of sympathy or remorse for his earlier murder or the murder he wants to commit. But in this book you start to feel bad for him. Sitting in a truck, hitching his way across Mississippi to buy a gun, he has to ask the driver to do the math for him to help him figure out how old he is after being in prison for almost forty years. He's too old to be useful to anyone, and so out of touch with the changes in the world around him (cars, for instance, were a novelty when he went into prison) that it seems a miracle that he finds someone to sell him a gun. He has enough principle not to steal from the former-Marine preacher that he runs into, and the preacher gets him his stolen money back and finds him a ride to Memphis.

For me, this book is worth reading for Mink Snopes. He's almost/sort of a sympathetic character here, and the whole trilogy starts to unravel a little when we get inside the head of a Snopes, and we start to feel bad for him. He has a lot of real problems - he's a terrible racist, though near the end of the book he goes to work for an African-American cotton farmer and seems to be social with them. But he rescues this book from being just the fantasy of an aging writer about a voluptuous young woman.

I should also mention that this book really ruins Ratliff as a character. The whole business with the tie really annoyed me, and made this homespun Socrates into a hick.

I think this is a flawed book, but interesting to people who are looking for more from Faulkner. Like another reviewer said, a lot of Yoknapatawpha shows up in here, such as Jason Compson from The Sound and the Fury and Clarence Snopes, who has a small but funny part in Sanctuary.

If you're looking for a good Faulkner book to start with, I think Light in August is good but a little long. Or Sanctuary, because it's so sensational.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fable of the Fallen South...., January 14, 2015
Faulkner concludes his story of the rise and fall of Flem Snopes with this third installment of the Snopes Trilogy, published 19 years after the first installment, The Hamlet. This can be enjoyably read as a stand-alone novel; for those reading it as the culmination of one long story, it can even be a bit repetitious, as large sections retell incidents already reported in the two earlier books, albeit often with additional or slightly different information.

The two central characters are those who bring about Flem's death: Mink Snopes, the convicted murderer first introduced in The Hamlet, who leaves prison after 39 years still intent on revenge against his cousin Flem for abandoning him during his trial; and Linda Snopes Kohl, the supposed daughter of Flem, who arranges for Mink's release for reasons of her own.

Faulkner's continued used of multiple narrators is particularly effective in this novel, allowing the reader to understand and empathize with both the simple minded Mink and the lawyer Gavin Stevens, the high-minded "knight" whose obsession is to "save" both Linda and, previously, Eula Verner Snopes, her mother. Interestingly, the reader is never allowed to see into the minds of Flem and Linda, so that their thoughts and motivations are always subject to the interpretations of other narrators.

The Mansion, both as a single novel and as the third of a trilogy, excels and enthralls as to plot and the grandeur of the language, but the story has added significance and symbolism that can be thought about long afterward. I'm still thinking about it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Flem meets his Match, June 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Mansion (Hardcover)
After over 50 years, I'm rereading Faulkner, can't get enough. The Mansion did not disappoint. Faulkner is a masterful writer and story teller
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The Mansion
The Mansion by William Faulkner (Mass Market Paperback - July 12, 1965)
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