- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (May 5, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679736328
- ISBN-13: 978-0679736325
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,652 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Suttree Paperback – May 5, 1992
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“Suttree contains a humour that is Faulknerian in its gentle wryness, and a freakish imaginative flair reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“All of McCarthy’s books present the reviewer with the same welcome difficulty. They are so good that one can hardly say how good they really are. . . . Suttree may be his magnum opus. Its protagonist, Cornelius Suttree, has forsaken his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat among the inhabitants of the demimonde along the banks of the Tennessee River. His associates are mostly criminals of one sort or another, and Suttree is, to say the least, estranged from what might be called normal society. But he is so involved with life (and it with him) that when in the end he takes his leave, the reader’s heart goes with him. Suttree is probably the funniest and most unbearably sad of McCarthy’s books . . . which seem to me unsurpassed in American literature.” —Stanley Booth
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
By the author of Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there--a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters--he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity.
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I can tell you that I don't like his stuff for the same reasons as anyone else. I'm not going to sit and read it for the same reason I would read a non-fiction narrative or something. Life is short and you can't always devote hours of your time slogging through such a vivid record of one characters life, only to find no meaning at the end. But sometimes I want to, and I have to applaud McCarthy on being one of the only people who can open that door in the world of literature.
The level of detail he puts in describing the violence is the same amount of detail he puts in describing the scenery. And the weather. Be prepared for paragraph or page long sentences shoving every metaphor, simile, and arcane noun imaginable in a attempt to describe the sway of the trees. Or the color of the sunset. In the end u have the clearest vision possible of the setting, but at the cost of a story that appears to go nowhere. The world of Blood Meridian is a character unto itself and it is treated as such. These page long tangents wear their welcome pretty fast in the story and never really let up. Expect to spend at least 30%-40% of your time reading blood meridian learning about the sky and the foliage.
My second complaint with this book comes from the missed opportunities of intrapersonal drama amongst the characters. So many of the personalities are literally begging to be fleshed out, but ultimately amount to canon fodder or caricatures. Everyone except for The Judge. Even the main character is pretty dry with the exception of a few key moments. In this gang of murderers, thieves, and rapists; u have the potential to truly explore the minds of the villians of society. Truly see how the down trodden rise, thrive, and justify this abhorrent behavior. U have a character named Black Jackson that should bring a different perspective on the events of the story, but ultimately just serves to give the others in the gang an excuse to use racial epithets. You have a genuine psychopath who serves as the leader, an expriest who never delves into his lost faith, 3 native Americans that are traveling with a group being paid to kill native mexicans, a murderer with a strict code, another muderer that travels with a necklace made of human ears, and a 16yo child that is supposed to be the main character but serves as little more than a blank slate. None of these characters get the shine they deserve. Instead they serve as instruments of violence, cannon fodder, or talking boards for the judge to spout his views of the world.
This misuse of a potentially brilliant cast is the reason why this book is so frustrating. McCarthy sacrificed an entire cast of characters in order to uplift The Judge and the scenery. If u are okay with that, than i encourage u to read Blood Meridian. But, if u are someone that values the interplay amongst an assortment of personalities and truly craves well written drama, approach this book with caution.