The Town

The Town

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' ruth struggle to take over the town of Jefferson, Mississippi, the book is rich in typically Faulknerian episodes of humor and of profundity.

Reviews of the The Town

Within the narration of these three, there is much humor to be found, at least in the first 3/4 of the book, and perhaps that was what was missing for me in The Hamlet, which I know is supposed to have its own humor, but for me it was ponderous and laborious. The ending of the novel, a great set-piece on its own, almost feels tacked-on and is different in tone than the rest of the novel, which I don't think is a problem for the theme, but in a way it seemed forced and might have fit better with the first novel.

Because we had all seen Mrs. Snopes by now, what few times we did see her which was usually behind the counter in the restaurant in another greasy apron, frying the hamburgers and eggs and ham and the tough pieces of steak on the grease-encrusted kerosene griddle, or maybe once a week on the Square, always alone; not, as far as we knew, going anywhere: just moving, walking in that aura of decorum and modesty and solitariness ten times more immodest and a hundred times more disturbing than one of the bathing suits young women would begin to wear about 1920 or so, as if in the second just before you looked, her garments had managed in one last frantic pell-mell scurry to overtake and cover her. Though only for a moment because in the next one, if only you followed long enough, they would wilt and fail from that mere plain and simple striding which would shred them away like the wheel of a constellation through a wisp and cling of trivial scud.Should the reader not have read The Hamlet, one can only imagine why such a creature would be the wife of the abhorrent Flem Snopes.

I hate the fact that to me, he's so good that I can place five of his books on my personal top 10 without flinching. Among them, however, I admire Gavin Stevens the best, and he is one of the central characters in this novel. Damn Faulkner.

First, all the Snopes characters in the trilogy are so singular and unforgettable that you can tell Faulkner was writing for eternity when he composed this trilogy. First we have the devious, intelligent, empire-building Flem Snopes who proceeds to slowly take over the town of Jefferson here bit by bit. And my personal favourite Wallstreet Panic Snopes, who is a young and up-and-coming whippersnapper running successful downtown grocery stores and possibly the only threat to Flem's small-town empire. Gavin Stevens and V.K. Ratklif have to be my personal favourites though - Stevens is a lawyer with strong values and someone intent on stopping the Snopes if anyone at all is going to but someone who always gets caught up in the whirlwind of beautiful women, just like in other books. Finally, we have of course the unforgettable, sexy and voluptuous Eula Varner (who becomes Mrs. Flem Snopes) a veritable Jezzebel if there ever was one and the eye candy crush of Jefferson. Going to take a short break from Faulkner for a while and come back in a few weeks and read the finale to this great trilogy.

This, the second novel in what I would call the Snopes trilogy, and the one featuring the amusing Ratliff, the traveling salesman of sewing-machines. Because what somebody else tells you, you jest half believe, unless it was something you already wanted to believeIn that case, you dont even listen to it, because you had done already agreed, and so all it does is make you think what a sensible feller it was that told you(258). Then, on our US Prez, a feller that jest wants money for the sake of money, theres a few things right at the last that he wont do, will stop at.

The second part of the "Snopes" trilogy, "Town" isn't that crappy Ben Affleck movie at all, but is rather the continuance of the story of Flem Snopes, back-country ass-hat turned "respectable" citizen of Jefferson and his efforts to maintain respectability while quietly destroying everyone around him.

Think again: that's why we still read Faulkner.

The communal crisis of The Town's plot is reflected in the nature of its three narrator's: the attorney Gavin Stevens, his pre-adolescent nephew Charles Mallison and entrepreneur V.K. Ratliff. Stevens' evolution as a character alone is worth the read; the revelations about Eula & Flem are even more astonishing, especially for anyone familiar with The Town's precursor, The Hamlet. To say Faulkner disliked women more than men is to ignore the collective view of people beyond gender with which people are characterized in this novel.

William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer.