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William Faulkner. The Mansion. New York: Random House, [1959]. First edition, first printing. Octavo. 436 pages.

The Mansion Complete Faulkner's great trilogy of the Snopes family in the mythical country of Yoknapatawpa, Mississippi, which also includes The Hamlet and The Town. Beginning with the murder of Jack Houston, and ending with the murder of Flem Snopes, it traces the downfall of this indomitable post-bellum family who managed to seize control of the town of Jefferson within a generation.

436 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1887

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About the author

William Faulkner

1,039 books8,747 followers
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are set in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by European modernism, and employed stream of consciousness in several of his novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 744 reviews
Profile Image for Alan.
Author 6 books295 followers
March 12, 2021
My favorite Faulkner novel, though I have re-read As I Lay Dying and a couple others more often, and taught them in Freshman Comp 2, the lit based course at my community college. For one thing, The Mansion is written from the perspective of a jailed psychopathic murderer, anxious to get out--so that he can murder again. How can we approve that?
By the end of the novel, the reader is with the psychopath, Mink Snopes, hoping he can kill his cousin Flem who has drained, one by one, all his relations' wealth and property to become the wealthiest landowner in Yoknapatawpha County.
Mink out of jail, preparing for killing Flem, reflects "Maybe it didn’t take even three years of freedom, immunity from it to learn that perhaps the entire dilemma of man’s condition is because of the ceaseless gabble with which he has surrounded himself, enclosed himself, insulated himself from the penalties of his own folly..."

The previous two novels reflect on politics more, but Mink thinks our national character rejects politics as "our national refuge for our incompetents who have failed at every other occupation by means of which they might make a living for themselves and their families..."
This last novel in the trilogy builds great irony. The Hamlet, the Town and The Mansion all include humor, especially The Town, where Ratliff the sewing-machine salesman can be a hoot.
He may also appear in As I Lay Dying, which is brilliantly teachable, perspectival from chapter to chapter, from different characters' viewpoints.
Profile Image for Bill.
205 reviews42 followers
June 15, 2022
"There aren't any morals," Stevens said. "People just do the best they can."
"The pore sons of bitches," Ratliff said.

So conclude a quorum of the three-member Greek chorus of Faulkner's trilogy on the Snopes family, as the curtain comes down on this final act. Charles Mallison is home from World War II, but isn't riding in the car with his uncle, County Attorney Gavin Stevens, and salesman V.K. Ratliff, to take part in the conversation.

They are distilling this wisdom looking back after the death of Flem Snopes at the hands of family members whose lives he damaged in his lifelong struggle for money and respectability. Like Stevens and Ratliff, I found humanity in each of the major characters, including Flem, his stepdaughter Linda, and his cousin Mink.

I also found and enjoyed Faulkner's customary humor and insights on the changes the South was experiencing in the period of the novel, roughly the first half of the 20th century. Characters participate in the Spanish Civil War and World War II and, surprisingly to me, Faulkner even drops the names of Hemingway, Malraux, and Huey Long.

For me, this was a satisfying conclusion to the very worthwhile experience of reading the Snopes trilogy.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,079 reviews712 followers
August 12, 2019
In this, the final book of Faulkner’s “Snopes” trilogy, we see the completion of the narrative that follows the rise of Flem Snopes from son of poor tenant farmer to bank president living in The Mansion.

Actually, the bank presidency was achieved by the end of the last novel, The Town. But the happenings in the previous two books of the trilogy are pretty well rehashed in this book, and thanks to the skilled and talented writing abilities of Faulkner the retelling is from a different point of view and holds the reader's interest.

The circuitous path followed by the narrative passes through numerous short stories about life in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. It's a style of writing that reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s fictional Lake Wobegon.

But the wandering story line manages to reach a conclusion which I found less than satisfying. I’ve heard Faulkner referred to as the “poet of the southern dung-heap.” That description of southern life is shockingly negative, nevertheless I find it to be descriptive of how I feel after finishing the “Snopes” trilogy.

There are pockets of ironic humor and satirizing of southern racial prejudices in Faulkner’s writing. So I can’t say everything is negative in his writing. But something about his writing leaves me sad and depressed. It seems to confirm my personal prejudices regarding southern culture in having a rotten core covered with a flowery sweet smelling cover. (My apologies to American southerners. I know you are good people and don’t deserve this sort of slam.)

Faulkner has portrayed the rise from poverty to financial success by Flem Snopes as being an unlikeable person with no friends. I would think this sort of success would be considered a praise worthy life in an American context. Is the message here that people should stay in their place?
Profile Image for Debbie Zapata.
1,791 reviews38 followers
July 25, 2017
Some people donate to charities to make themselves feel good, powerful, or important. They do not really care about giving to others, they just want their own reputation to grow.John Weightman was one of those people. Wealthy, successful, and very much aware of all the endowments he had made over the years, all the buildings that carried his name.

But his son Harold wants to give from his heart, with no other reason than to help other people. Will this desire trigger anything at all in the heart and mind of his father?

A short moral tale, fairly preachy but not too annoyingly so. Not my favorite by this author by any means. Most notable (for me) because it is number 12 of 24 on my Stag Reading List. (Henry Van Dyke's recipe contribution was for fish chowder, by the way. Step One: Catch the fish. LOL)
Profile Image for Karisa.
315 reviews11 followers
January 12, 2011
The prophet of my church reads this book every Christmas (along with A Christmas Carol and the various nativity accounts from the scriptures), so I thought I'd give The Mansion a try. What an inspiring read! And it's very quick too. It's about true service-- helping others without worrying about a reward.

It reminded me of a phone conversation I had a while ago with my mom. I was telling her how I just spent a whole morning driving around a friend to various welfare appointments (with my newborn baby and grumpy toddler in tow), and when I dropped her off at the end, she said goodbye and shut the car door without thanking me. I complained, "I wish she had just said THANKS! It doesn't take any effort! It doesn't cost anything! I just wanted her to at least acknowledge my sacrifice." My mom said, "Oh no, you'd better hope she doesn't thank you! And hope that you don't find brownies and a note on your doorstep later on this week. It's much better to get a reward from God later on, than to get a thank you from your friend right now. God noticed what you did."

Anyway, in this book, the main character does a ton of service, but it's always to get praise and accolades. And then the story is about his transformation into doing true, selfless service. It's a great read-- I definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for J.
194 reviews89 followers
March 2, 2022
The final installment of the Snopes by William Faulkner uses the 3rd person perspective while oscillating in tone between poetic and colloquial, depending on the character(s) being described. The Mansion is more lucid than the preceding books, The Hamlet and The Town respectively. But even when Faulkner’s prose is polished it is rather circuitous.

Snopes spans about five decades and is a local history, narrow in its ostensible scope; however, in many instances it encompasses a history of Mississippi, the Deep South, the United States, and even the whole of humankind. In this review I’ll attempt to avoid reviewing the entirety of the trilogy as much as possible and focus on The Mansion separately. I will not achieve total success because the Mansion explains, sometimes in more detail and other times from a new perspective, events from The Town, as well as, and even more so, events from The Hamlet.

From the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th, Snopes chronicles an evolving country:
mule and horse-drawn carriages and buckboards turning into automobiles, an agrarian economy becoming financialized. Even the advent of American football is described. Inequality and war are two things that remain constant. Of the latter, Faulkner says, regarding the men returning from combat: “…with only a third of life over, to know now that they had already experienced their greatest experience, and now to find that the world for which they had so endured and risked was in their absence so altered out of recognition by the ones who had stayed safe at home as to have no place for them in it anymore.”

The Mansion is the most overt of the three books in its anti-racism. The KKK and the lesser known Silver Shirts are mentioned fairly frequently. Faulkner is never heavy-handed but allows bigotry to appear senseless on its own account. Politics is also featured more prominently in the finale. A member of the Snopes clan, Clarence, is a state senator and has potential in Washington. This corrupt character is not even close to being the most depraved of the Snopes, but he is used to represent most politicians; and we mustn’t forget this prescient statement: “Politics and political office are not the method and means by which we can govern ourselves in peace and dignity and honor and security, but instead are our national refuge for our incompetents who have failed at every other occupation by means of which they might make a living for themselves and their families.”

Pessimistic sentiments are prevalent as the main catastrophe from The Town, a suicide, is revisited. Here's a bleak example: “You are happy when your life is filled, and any life is filled when it is so busy living from moment to moment that it has no time over to remember yesterday or dread tomorrow. Which of course couldn’t last.”

More than racism, bigotry, misogyny, politics, or philosophy, The Mansion is about the superstitious and sanctimonious fools and foolishness that typically make up a town like Jefferson, MS—or a county like his fictitious Yoknapatawpha. Only a few characters, Charles Mallison, Gavin Stevens, VK Ratliff, and Linda Snopes, provide us with freethinking mouthpieces for the author. Public sentiment dictates a lot of what happens over the course of the lives of these characters and others. We see what “Main Street” has to offer, and generally it is not good.

The Mansion has Faulkner jabbing at the good old U.S. of A.: for all its backwardness, for all its bull pucky, but he is not making fun of it. He is sad for it. He’s lamenting human frailty and folly. He speaks of the doom of war, the carnage; but he’s speaking as one of those watching the men return home—the men injured in mind and body. It is amazing how the voice of the author can feel like that of a large group: a community, a town, a county, or even a country.

The novel is not all grim. There is some good advice: “Don’t ever waste time regretting errors. Just don’t forget them.” There are sensible, good-hearted characters. But there are hard truths, and there is much cynicism: “Illusionees”—those who believe that “honor and justice and decency would prevail just because they were honorable just and decent.” We know that evil is not destroyed merely because it is evil and should be destroyed.

It is in this last book that we truly see what Snopes represents. The “Sn” sound in the name is no coincidence (sounds like snake). The family, the name, all the individual Snopeses, save a few of them (and these Ratliff and Stevens mention as not truly belonging to the Snopes clan), come to represent all the greedy, sociopathic bastards in America, in the world. As Snopes takes shape we see it for what it is: all that makes the world of humans a shitty place.

The writing is singular and powerful throughout. Nothing of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, or anything in the American canon comes close to what Faulkner has created in his fictional (but quite realistic) depiction of the South. Even one venturing across the Atlantic can only hold up Shakespeare and Dickens as arguable equals; and traveling farther eastward will only find Dostoevsky and Tolstoy as rivals in what we consider Western Literature.

Like eighteen year old Scotch whisky or fine wine, Faulkner may be an acquired taste—but it's well worth acquiring.
Profile Image for Bob Brinkmeyer.
Author 9 books50 followers
June 29, 2019
As I said in my review of The Town, there’s a falling off in power in the late Faulkner, and we can also see that in the The Mansion, the concluding novel of the Snopes Trilogy. That said, there’s something really fascinating, intriguing, and even lovely about this novel—the depiction of Mink Snopes. Even though one section of the novel is entitled “Flem” (the other two sections are “Mink” and “Linda”), the driving force of the novel is Mink and to a lesser extent Linda. As in The Town, the fascination with Linda (and “Woman”) consumes Gavin, Ratliff, and Chick, and while she emerges, in part because of her political idealism, as a more complex figure than in the previous novel, the endless verbal masturbation concerning her by the three men once again eventually grows tiresome. Why don’t they just do something instead of talking all the time? I’m simplifying here, but you get the point.

But then there’s Mink, a great character. In glancing through some of the Goodreads reviews, I’ve noticed that a number of readers identify Mink as a psychopath, a designation that drastically misses and reduces the humanity of this driven man. Yes, he’s done some really bad things (including murder), but as Faulkner makes clear what drives him is a fierce pride and a fierce sense of honor. For many poor whites in the South during this time, scorned and taken advantage of by the middle class and the elites, pride and honor—and often violent vengeance—were the only means to maintain self-worth and dignity. Mink acts not as a psychopath but as a man driven by almost a Calvinistic sense of justice, and in this he stands far apart from the power-driven Flem. Moreover, Mink actually accomplishes some things, patiently biding his time rather than endlessly agonizing and pontificating, as Gavin and to a somewhat lesser extent Ratliff do.

The ending is some of Faulkner’s most elevated (some might say too elevated but not me) and glorious prose, and I will quote a passage (without giving anything away, I trust) to underscore how rich and in some ways heroic (as a revenge hero) Mink stands. Here Mink lies down to rest, “the ground already full of folks that had the trouble but were free now, so that it was just the ground and the dirt that had to bother and worry and anguish with the passions and hopes and skeers, the justice and the injustice and the griefs, leaving the folks themselves easy now, all mixed and jumbled up comfortable and easy so wouldn’t nobody even know or even care who was which anymore, 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 on up to the very top itself among the shining phantoms and dreams which are the milestone of the long human recording—Helen and the bishops, the kings and unhomed angels, the scornful and graceless seraphim.” Most all of my frustrations with this novel were themselves laid to rest when I got to this passage.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
July 12, 2016
Short and sweet, but it delivers an excellent punch. I suppose I could most likely compare it to "Christmas Carol" for Christians. If we all lived by the doing-good-and-not-counting-the-cost, it sure would be a nicer world! Not to mention, even, the thought of a heavenly treasure. Definitely recommended —and one that will make you think.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,678 reviews280 followers
May 29, 2012

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!
Profile Image for Marc.
766 reviews108 followers
October 27, 2018
For me the steady build up of tension, the intricate development of multiple characters, the fictional South brought to life, and the layered, multiple perspective story telling came to a wonderful conclusion in this final book of the series. I would literally gossip about the characters to my wife and tell her about their ridiculous ploys (e.g., shake my head and say to her, "You would not believe where that Mink Snopes tried to winter his cow!"). You can feel the wheel of history slowly turning in this saga and the gears of culture just beginning to grind up again after not so short a time ago when they almost ground the country to a halt. The world changes, but survival, dignity, and love still combine to either foster a better future or provide the kindling to burn the whole thing down. I'm actually sorry this one has come to an end (normally, I'm the type of reader that's ready to jump into the excitement of a new book before the one I'm reading is even done).
Profile Image for Riley G..
94 reviews13 followers
March 23, 2022
I read this short story for school a few years ago, and recently reread it, because... It's so amazing.

It really gets you thinkin' about what you're valuing-- God and your family, or possessions?

It also has the most interesting setting descriptions (which is part of why I had to read this story in school~ to analyze setting techniques), and the setting itself shows the personality of the man living there. I love when authors wrote settings that way! 🥰

I recommend (I accidently put "recognize" at first-- why?) this story to anyone. It's really a story that makes you think about what God wants! 😄👍
Profile Image for Elizabeth (Alaska).
1,288 reviews423 followers
May 18, 2016
This is the third and final installment of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy. It wraps up the story of the Snopes family in brilliant fashion. Although the beginning and the end of this installment are closely tied, the great middle parts are as much a putting together of anecdotes as anything. By doing so, Faulkner does a better job of characterizing his Yoknapatawpha County better than in the others of the series - or maybe even better than the other novels I have read. Or, perhaps I was trying to see more plot in the others than is there, and reading this I was more willing to just go with the flow.

Faulkner puts us inside the head of his characters better than any writer I can recall. In this, we again occasionally have V.R. Ratliff giving us the story in his own words. Ratliff isn't really part of the story, he just witnesses a lot of it, and occasionally advises Lawyer Gavin Stevens. Still, his characterization is presented as well as the others, and together with all of the others making up the characterization of the north Mississippi hill country.
Eula never done no waiting. Likely she never even knowed what the word meant, like the ground, dirt, the earth, whatever it is in it that makes seed sprout at the right time, dont know nor need to know what waiting means. Since to know what waiting means, you got to be skeered or weak or self-doubtful enough to know what impatience of hurry means, and Eula never needed them no more than that dirt does. All she needed was jest to be, like the ground of the field, until the right time come, the right wind, the right sun, the right rain; until in fact that-ere single unique big buck jumped that tame garden fence outen the big woods or the high mountain or the tall sky, and finally got through jest standing there among the sheep with his head up, looking proud. So it was McCarron that put off that long what you might call that-ere inevitable.
This quote seemed perfect when I highlighted it, but I can see how anyone reading it now would not understand the context. Still, one can see that Ratliff's observations are pure Faulkner, and, hopefully, that one can see the story would be missing something entirely without him. Not everyone is presented in dialect. Most have little southerness, one or two a bit more.

My rating for this may be based on the trilogy as a whole, rather than this installment. I do know that I wasn't very far into this, when I realized that I will keep reading Faulkner as long as there is Faulkner to be read.
Profile Image for thethousanderclub.
298 reviews19 followers
June 1, 2013
Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts . . .

"At a recent Christmas Devotional, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, listed three works that he reads each year around Christmas-time: The Gospel According to Luke, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke. The first two were, of course, very familiar to me, but I had never heard of The Mansion. I became curious and the source of the recommendation was more than enough to get me to read Henry Van Dyke's obscure Christmas-tale.

If one is familiar with A Christmas Carol, which I'm sure most people are, some similarities between it and The Mansion will immediately be apparent. However, The Mansion deals with a slightly different theme and message than A Christmas Carol. Unlike Dickens' thoroughly bad Ebenezer Scrooge, Van Dyke's main character, John Weightman, is not a bad man. In fact, he is a pretty honorable man by most definitions. He does good things and expects good things to be returned to him because of it. And therein lays the main message of The Mansion. Van Dyke seems to construct his entire story around a simple principle delineated in the New Testament: "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward" (Matthew 6:2).

In my opinion, A Christmas Carol is about a bad man becoming good while The Mansion is about a good man becoming better. The Mansion doesn't seem to stay with you the way that A Christmas Carol does, which is too bad. I wanted to like The Mansion a lot more than I did. I felt like it had so many opportunities to powerfully and elegantly portray its message, but it all seemed a little flat.

It's a very short read, much like A Christmas Carol, and it presents an interesting message. It certainly wasn't my favorite nor did I think it was exceptionally memorable. Much like its main character, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either."

Profile Image for Dan.
27 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2011
I'm a little torn, reviewing a 100-year-old novelette. On the one hand, the book is written in broad strokes, with poor characterization, and only seems to exist to teach a lesson with the subtlety of Aesop. On the other, the book was written specifically to explain this idea, and the "reveal" is actually quite powerful.

So I can't really review the book, as it only exists to push the idea. And that's where I'm torn.

The moral, that charity is only really charity if you do not profit from it, is an excellent one. But the book doesn't exactly work in this manner, logically.

Our "hero," after being shown the errors of his ways (he's responsible for erecting charitable foundations and buildings throughout the country, with the caveat that they all be named after him), decides to become truly altruistic. He gives his son money knowing that he will most likely not see it again, and vows to become a better man through the last of his days.

But he's giving up the "reward" of this life for a reward in the next. Everybody else's mansion in heaven was opulent, gorgeous and stately, where his was only a tattered hut. Seeing how pitiful his next life would be, he really decided to just defer his reward until after his death.

So I didn't find his change of heart to be particularly convincing. He just swapped one reward for a greater one down the line. Is it really altruism if you're doing it for future glory? Even if that reward is in heaven?
Profile Image for Vickie.
258 reviews
January 1, 2019
1/1/19 - still love this book. This is my 7th year starting out with it. It still inspires me. 1/1/18- Each year I find something new to think about in this book.
1/1/17- I like to start the new year with this short read. It helps remind me of what really counts.
12/31/15 still a 5 star book. I find something new every year.
12/31/14 My tradition- read this book every year. It's still as good as it was in 2012.
(2013 review ahead)(This is a great book to read on the eve of the new year. I'd give it a 4.5 easily.- this is the review I wrote December 31, 2012)
I'm not sure how to add a book twice to Goodreads so I'll just edit this review. I read this book last New Year's Eve and thought I would read it again this year. I am giving it a 5 because it has such a good message and I plan on reading it again next year at this time.
12/31/13. My New Year's Eve tradition- reading The Mansion. It doesn't disappoint.
Profile Image for Susan.
397 reviews89 followers
July 21, 2015
The Mansion by William Faulkner. Rated 10 out of 10. Really loved this one? Ratliff and Gavin and ChIck go over and over the Snopeses (Flem, Mink, Linda primarily) again, from a later POV. You realize that Mink killing John Houston (over a tiny kennel fee to get his cow back) and Flem not coming to save him in 1908 has festered everyone until 1946 when Linda enables Mink to come home, Still angry enough at Flem to kill him, which GS in and Ratliff knew, which Flem himself knew and somehow Linda knew too. It's taken a long time to tell the story. Mink kills Houston in The Hamlet. Flem causes him to try to escape so that he be captured and re-sentenced in The Town and Mink gets released in The Mansion. So much goes on I between.

I haven't read the trilogy since I was in grad school in the 60ies.
Profile Image for Nancy.
1,610 reviews46 followers
December 11, 2011
Thomas Monson, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, spoke at the churches Christmas Devotional a few days ago. He told us the stories he reads every year before Christmas. The Mansion is one of those books he reads each year.

The story is about John Weightman, who gives a lot to the community, but it always is to his own credit. When he goes to heaven, he watches as the other people are given beautiful mansions, and he can hardle wait to see how grand his mansion will be. He learns that he had received his rewards on earth, and was given a little hut. At that point he opens his eyes, and he has learned an important lesson about giving without being rewarded.
Profile Image for Robin.
343 reviews21 followers
November 15, 2010
This was a short story, very appropriate for Christmas time. It was a light and quick read with a beautiful, uplifting message. This can be downloaded for free through Project Gutenberg. I would recommend anyone read it.
Profile Image for David Aasen.
107 reviews
October 26, 2022
This was a drudge. The part about Mink was quite good, but after that I lost interest and skimmed through the last 200 pages. A bit disappointing since I really liked The Hamlet and enjoyed the Town.

2 or 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Kyla Harris.
345 reviews252 followers
December 24, 2015
This little book is a perfect read for chhirsmas! (like the chirstmas carol) It takes about an hour to read out loud and the writing is amazing♡ I enjoyed it lots.
Profile Image for Autumn Beck.
194 reviews21 followers
November 10, 2022
Quick read. I read aloud to the boys in a sitting. Good illustration of Matthew 6:1-24. Not solid theology but easy to gloss over.
Profile Image for Sterlingcindysu.
1,345 reviews48 followers
December 27, 2022
A short free read for Kindle from Amazon. I'll remember this whenever I see all those 'anonymous' patrons at concerts in the programs (if they ever start printing programs again. Ha! Maybe that drives home this point even more about giving if the patrons aren't even listed anywhere!). Written in 1887.

Van Dyke is known for some of his quotes--

Profile Image for Wendee Radmall.
142 reviews
December 14, 2010
In the Christmas Devotional by the First Presidency this year, President Monson expressed that he reads this book each year, along with A Christmas Carol, to prepare for the Christmas season. I had never heard of the book, but a referral from the prophet is enough to send me on a hunt. I found it at a small town Library. It's a short story with a powerful, jolting message. Very similar in theme to A Christmas Carol. "But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven."--Matthew 6:20

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Martin.
490 reviews29 followers
April 21, 2011
Kind of a letdown after The Town. There is a good third of the novel that is a rehash of the previous two. I don’t mind, however, because the story is told by different narrators and there are added details. But sometimes I got a little impatient and had to remind myself that Absalom, Absalom also went over its material several times. However, I felt that Mink Snopes’ recollection of why he killed Houston was a bit of revisionism (Faulkner published The Hamlet nineteen years prior to The Mansion) and that Faulkner had decided he wanted to make a different point with the incident. I can’t complain too much since I always felt like Houston’s murder was entirely too abrupt, so finally getting to know why it happened was rewarding on some level. But I wish that Faulkner had figured out some way to have Mink narrate his chapters himself instead of bringing back the omniscient narrator who was not missed in The Town. I was bummed that Faulkner could not figure out a way to continue the multiple first-person narrators that were so perfect in The Town. I loved the chapter that Monty Snopes narrated and his observations about the nature of being a Snopes. I felt Charles Mallison became a better narrator as an adult because he is old enough to look critically at Gavin Stevens’ decisions. I continued to have an emotional involvement in Gavin and Linda Snopes’ relationship, and I was always aware of the ghost of Eula haunting our protagonists. I think that Linda is my favorite of Faulkner’s rebellious female characters. I loved the stories about Clarence Snopes political career and old Meadowfield’s battle with Snopes and his own daughter. I loved the section on Jason Compson’s attempt to get Snopes to buy the old golf course (previous the Compson mile) to build an airport called Snopes Field, only to see it become GI housing called Eula Acres. I loved getting to see some of the old characters like Miss Reba and Minnie in Memphis, or a glimpse of Ike McCaslin. I appreciated the rare glimpse of what the town of Jefferson was like in the mid-20th century at the beginning of the civil rights movement, during WWII, and the postwar boom. And I loved this description of Ratliff: “To be unschooled, untraveled, and to an extent unread, Ratliff had a terrifying capacity for knowledge or local information or acquaintanceship to match the need of any local crisis.”
Profile Image for Brian Willis.
579 reviews32 followers
June 20, 2016
Although Faulkner did not intend it, this final book in the Snopes trilogy actually serves as a summative commentary on his ongoing exploration of Southern life and cultural heritage as set within the confines of the postbellum and early twentieth century periods.

Change and progress continues to evolve Jefferson, Mississippi (not accidental, this most controversial yet seminal of Southern Presidents whose name lends the town its nomenclature). The charms and gentility of the South alongside its stubborn refusal to change and its guile are divided among the main characters of the trilogy, with the stubbornness, arrogance, egotism, and guile represented by the Snopes family (massive in number, invading Jefferson like Huns and Vandals, with many of the names devolving from icons of commercialism and mercantilism such as Montgomery Ward) and the gentility and essential spirit of chivalry of Southern life represented by Gavin Stevens, V.K. Ratliff, and Chick Mallison.

Faulkner brings his tale (which began in the late nineteenth century) to a close after the events of the twin World Wars and with a final judgement on the durability of small town Southern life within the hurtling speed of the twentieth century. Discerning readers will notice these small clues throughout the trilogy. I won't spoil much of what happens, though I would say this is probably a series for Faulkner readers with some experience. However, I must say that Gavin Stevens and Linda Snopes are two of the most astonishing, lifelike, and sympathetic characters I have ever read in literature, particularly within the milieu of American writing. Linda alone is the kind of role that would win an actress an Oscar if filmed - but a character of extraordinary strength and passion. Gavin Stevens is at times the perfect Southern gentleman, but he is also a protagonist we return to time and again, almost a Hamlet figure, because his morals and his intellect are simultaneously both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. Fascinating stuff. Considering how peak Faulkner was in writing this, it saddens the reader to realize he would be dead in three short years.
Profile Image for J.M. Hushour.
Author 8 books200 followers
December 26, 2018
"Man aint really evil, he just aint got any sense."

A great novel with which to end my Faulkner-completism journey, as it winds up both the magnificent "Snopes" trilogy as well as, I was pleased to find, pretty much all the random, frayed storylines emanating out of Jefferson, MS.
"Mansion" is the end of the Flem Snopes epic, by now that wily southern creep ensconced as head of the local bank and having restored/remade the old mansion in town as a place to sit in while his daughter prowls about drinking whiskey and trading sweetnesses with Faulkner's ubiquitous hero, lawyer Gavin Stevens. Oh yes, and the elusive Mink Snopes, Faulkner's secret literary weapon, plans his gentle, simple revenge against Flem for never getting him out of jail for murder.
This one stands out because Faulkner begins to let the outer world really flood in for the first time here. The world wars, Communism, Franco (Linda Snopes goes and fights against fascists in Spain!), the New Deal and the aftermath of all of that. Adroit of always, Faulkner weaves all of this in and out of northern Mississippi, and makes this probably his most touching and romantic novel.
I am sad this is all over, since I tend to only re-read things I like decades later, but it was a nice one to end on.
Profile Image for Kristi.
142 reviews
December 22, 2013
A very fun little read. I read it to my husband one night as he was preparing for a talk at church about Christ and Christmas. I just love the walk the main character takes with fellow travelers on their way to their way to their own mansions.

Personally, I learned to look deeper into my heart for the reasons I do things. Do I try to do kind acts because of the recognition I receive now...or do I do them out of the love of Christ? This cute little story makes me want to try harder to show Christian love to all His children and to do so because of my love for Him.
Profile Image for Mary.
835 reviews46 followers
December 6, 2011
Man, I like a good, contemplative Christmas story. When Pres. Monson recommended this during the Christmas devotional, I plugged my ears so that he didn't give away the ending, which is the only time I've done that while the prophet speaks. I'm glad I did. SPOILER ALERT: I love a good redemption story.
Profile Image for Lee Thompson.
Author 27 books180 followers
December 21, 2013
God, I love, love, love Faulkner. These last few years I've seen that "Counrty Noir" genre thrown around, and I love the stuff, and I think Faulkner invented it. Was nice to see a cameo in this final novel of the Snopes trilogy from Jason Compson (of THE SOUND AND THE FURY.) I always hated that bastard.
Profile Image for Steen Alexander.
Author 7 books147 followers
September 17, 2015
The Mansion concludes what used to be called the 'Snopes Trilogy', which Faulkner himself wanted to call it: a sharp and deeply insightful portrait of Mississippi before there was anything called the Civil Rights Movement. Top marks - 5 stars - to all three novels in this trilogy.
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