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The Town by William Faulkner

The Town (1957)

by William Faulkner

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Jefferson, Mississippi, meet Flem Snopes.

And yet, can it be that Jefferson and Flem might actually get along?

Faulkner's stream of consciousness style does wonders for realism. The story is always being told by one character at a time, and when it switches to another character's point of view we may get an amazingly different take on events, and yet no point of view is much more believable than another. Ah, the human mind, as it imbues the world around it with subjective meaning. As it fugues along sometimes in self-argument, so that the premise or action which was completely dismissed out of hand a page or so ago has now been accepted as a wonderful solution and why didn't I think of that before? (I am never like that ;) ) Indeed it wouldn't be far from the truth to say that we all live in our own little worlds sometimes, from the lawyer Gavin to his kid nephew Charles to the ubiquitous V.K. Ratliff.

I have to say that I am quite relieved Faulkner did not try to write from a feminine perspective in this book (I believe he did in As I Lay Dying, though I can't remember, that was ages ago). Mostly because of the opinions of his characters regarding women. I don't know (probably don't want to know) if those opinions were Faulkner's own, but I'm still relieved. I think it is hard for an author to write such a personal, in-depth point of view as stream of consciouness from the other gender's perspective, man or woman; such that it may only be possible if the character in question is quite slow or eccentric or sick. And I certainly don't want to know what Eula Snopes was thinking... she quite disturbs me!

The names, a word about the names. I'm not sure that Faulkner was thinking, because I myself have lived in the South and, um, yes, back out in the sticks there are sometimes names like this. Especially from people like the Snopes. Still... Flem and Eck as given names? First and middle combinations like Wallstreet Panic, Montgomery Ward, and Admiral Dewey? Plus the lovely sibling combination of Clarence and the twins Vardaman and Bilbo. or the sibs Byron and Virgil. Although we do get one lovely Russian name hidden in there, unsuspecting. Certainly never a dull moment in nomenclature...
3 vote moiraji | Apr 23, 2008 |
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"I wasn't born yet so it was Cousin Gowan who was there and big enough to see and remember and tell me afterward when I was big enough for it to make sense."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394701844, Mass Market Paperback)

This is the second volume of Faulkner's trilogy about the Snopes family, his symbol for the grasping, destructive element in the post-bellum South.

Like its predecessor The Hamlet and its successor The Mansion, The Town is completely self-contained, but it gains resonance from being read with the other two. The story of Flem Snopes' ruthless struggle to take over the town of Jefferson, Mississippi, the book is rich in typically Faulknerian episodes of humor and of profundity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Flem Snopes goes on to higher things in Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha's county seat.

» see all 3 descriptions

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