I have commented often that Fourth Mansions is my favorite book by any author in any genre. Why do I feel so strongly about it?
- The sheer joy and exuberance of the writing. Lafferty's way of introducing characters with seemingly unrelated bits of information that as the book progresses become repeated and increasingly important.
- The sense that there is more going on than is apparent on this side of the curtain. This is a perhaps a tired trope, but somehow Lafferty telegraphs the idea that these are not specific actual conspiracies, but allegory for our own conflicting inner forces.
- The wonderful play he has with metaphor and different levels of reality. When Biddy Bencher is lying on subterranean beaches being torn apart by wild dogs, and she is complaining that they are only taking her legs. At the same time she is in her room listening to the stereo. Both are true, but one is true to her character while the other events are occurring in a more mundane reality.
- Perhaps most importantly, Fourth Mansions is an immensely hopeful book. Freddy Foley is not a hereditary chosen one, he stands in fore each and every one of us malodorous worms in the middle, for every everylout. That he can integrate the strengths of the four monsters and lead humanity through to the fifth mansion, means that each one of us has that potential!