5 stars, absolutely brilliant.
this is the third of the Snopes trilogy, which follows the life of a certain Flem Snopes in his rise from a crook-in-the-road tenant farmer to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi. in the first two books, we got a good look at what makes Flem Snopes in particular and the Snopes clan in general tick, through various characters including the incredibly interesting V.K. Ratliff (he's my favorite of them all). we were witness to various shenanigans, adventures, and plots; the shifting of power in a family dynasty, a hamlet, and a city; and one especially cold-blooded and disturbing murder. it is in turns bizarre, horrible, hilarious, and utterly believable because it's just too absurd to be made up.
in this perfect conclusion, Flem's wife Eula (easily the most disturbing character, to me) is gone but not forgotten as the daughter Linda has come of age. the city attorney Gavin Stephens cannot seem to wrest his fate away from the course Eula set it on; the ubiquitous, inscrutable V.K. Ratliff cannot seem to wrest Gavin back on the right track either; and the reader cannot help but wince knowing something is going to come down. but, after all, that is why it's called fate.
together with Gavin's now-grown nephew Charles, Gavin and V.K. maintain their vigil against all things Snopes (including a battle to keep one out of Congress itself) as the second World War changes the economy, the voting demographics, and the way of life in Jefferson.
shut away from the world and all its upheavals is the deceivingly diminutive Mink Snopes, serving life in the penitentiary for the murder mentioned above. but Mink has unfinished business on the outside, and he is just biding his time surely, steadily, with an unearthly patience and simple-minded insanity.
but with Snopeses, one never knows what exactly to expect: Gavin isn't the only one caught up in fate, and Mink isn't the only one with a score to settleâ¦