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Suttree

by

Suttree Cover

ISBN13: 9780679736325
ISBN10: 0679736328
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

I read Suttree twenty years ago and was floored by the writing and the story. It is a poignant tale of a man choosing to live his life as he wants, turning his back on his family and their considerable wealth. Jerome Charyn wrote a review of the book in the New York Times, Feb. 18, 1979. I figured I couldn't do any better than he did: "Suttree himself is a lost creature who can find no real hook into this world. He can touch another human being for a moment, drink beer with a friend, fish, make love, but he has to move on, jump downriver, or hide in the dead, nightmare city. The book comes at us like a horrifying flood. The language licks, batters, wounds — a poetic, troubled rush of debris. It is personal and tough, without that boring neatness and desire for resolution that you can get in any well-made novel. Cormac McCarthy has little mercy to spare, for his characters or himself. His text is broken, beautiful and ugly in spots. Mr. McCarthy won't soothe us with a quiet song. Suttree is like a good, long scream in the ear."
Recommended by Brodie, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"With this novel Mr. McCarthy's bid to be accepted as a major American writer wins the pot. He is good, very good, and admirers of The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, and Child of God will rejoice. This is perhaps the best novel of river life in midcontinent America since Huckleberry Finn. Mr. McCarthy's Knoxville and his Tennessee speak to us in language so true and pure it hurts. A major-league truant (as was Huck), Suttree sets up camp on the river and defies time and reality to lure him back. He makes his point the hard way, and he gets hurt; but he makes his point. He cannot go the way of the city rat, Harrogate, who turns to crime; nor of Abednego Jones, the huge black who relies on his brute strength to see him through; nor of his crooked-as-a-dog's-hind-leg friends who dredge for mussel shells at 40 dollars the ton. And he most certainly cannot go home again, for that way lies capitulation. So Suttree stays on the river and looks at life through as uncomplicated a glass as he can find. The view is worth the price of the ride." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

Review:

"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)

Review:

"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

Review:

"Perhaps the closest we have to a genuine heir to the Faulknerian tradition...[McCarthy's] novels have a stark, mythic quality that is very much their own." Washington Post

Review:

"Cormac McCarthy gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed Huckleberry Finn." the New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Cormac McCarthy gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed Huckleberry Finn." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Suttree may be [McCarthy's] magnum opus...probably the funniest and most unbearably sad of [his] books...which seem to me unsurpassed in American literature." Stanley Booth

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in1933 and spent most of his childhood near Knoxville, Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Air Force and later studied at the University of Tennessee. In 1976 he moved to El Paso, Texas, where he lives today.  McCarthy's fiction parallels his movement from the Southeast to the West--the first four novels being set in Tennessee, the last three in the Southwest and Mexico. The Orchard Keeper (1965) won the Faulkner Award for a first novel; it was followed by Outer Dark (1968),  Child of God (1973), Suttree (1979), Blood Meridian (1985), All the Pretty Horses, which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award for fiction in 1992, and The Crossing.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Tom Maddox, September 9, 2011 (view all comments by Tom Maddox)
Cormac McCarthy's later novels--for instance, The Road and No Country for Old Men--simply aren't up to this one. Suttree is one of the saddest, most eloquent novels I have ever read; it is also one of the funniest. Settle down with it and let it take you on a long, strange ride. It will grow your vocabulary and your heart.
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Erica Reichert, April 17, 2009 (view all comments by Erica Reichert)
Suttree is a ~gorgeous~ work of fiction. McCarthy's prose is truly amazing.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
dogd, February 11, 2009 (view all comments by dogd)
I sense that how you arrive at a book, what you know of the author's other works or awards, distorts your reading of it. I came to Suttree from McCarthy's novel "The Road", which was given to me by a five foot tall, raven-haired heavy-metal singer who - besides her pale, pancake-makeup face, had almost every inch of the rest of her body covered with Ray Bradbury-like tattoos. I had no expectations. I expected perhaps, science fiction, or melodrama, something whatever other merits it might have, would be inconsequential. Instead, just days later, I found myself talking with strangers in line at the local Borders - telling them, yes, yes, I enthusiastically recommend The Road, but that I feel almost guilty in doing so because it is the most completely depressing, savage, unsparing book that I have ever read. Recommending The Road is like speaking fondly of a near death experience. So I came to Suttree from that unrelenting, yet paradoxically linear horrorshow - with its three characters (father, son, ravaged world), and felt as if I was Alice through the looking glass. Was this really the same author? Suttree seemed to me a far less confident work, with page after page of unnecessary description, an ill-defined main character, a 'hooting waxworks' of supporting characters, all of which insulated both Suttree and the reader from the despair that lies at the book's heart. I felt that McCarthy was - as the late Celtic announcer Johnny Most would say, 'fiddling and diddling'. I read the book eagerly, keeping a running list of the words I didn't know, and the words McCarthy made up, and compiling the names and occupations of the dozens of characters (and their occupations) that he tossed about with literary disdain. I think this book is well worth reading, but does not compare well to McCarthy's later works (except perhaps, to discuss the writer's development). I suppose that comparing McCarthy to McCarthy is unfair, except that it leads to the suggestion that someone interested in his work should begin at the beginning, lest he or she be disappointed.
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(8 of 25 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679736325
Author:
McCarthy, Cormac
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
McCarthy, Cormac
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Men
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Fishers
Subject:
Tennessee, East
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
43
Publication Date:
19920531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1 in 0.75 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Suttree Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679736325 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I read Suttree twenty years ago and was floored by the writing and the story. It is a poignant tale of a man choosing to live his life as he wants, turning his back on his family and their considerable wealth. Jerome Charyn wrote a review of the book in the New York Times, Feb. 18, 1979. I figured I couldn't do any better than he did: "Suttree himself is a lost creature who can find no real hook into this world. He can touch another human being for a moment, drink beer with a friend, fish, make love, but he has to move on, jump downriver, or hide in the dead, nightmare city. The book comes at us like a horrifying flood. The language licks, batters, wounds — a poetic, troubled rush of debris. It is personal and tough, without that boring neatness and desire for resolution that you can get in any well-made novel. Cormac McCarthy has little mercy to spare, for his characters or himself. His text is broken, beautiful and ugly in spots. Mr. McCarthy won't soothe us with a quiet song. Suttree is like a good, long scream in the ear."

"Review" by , "Suttree contains a humour that is Faulknerian in its gentle wryness, and a freakish imaginative flair reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Perhaps the closest we have to a genuine heir to the Faulknerian tradition...[McCarthy's] novels have a stark, mythic quality that is very much their own."
"Review" by , "Cormac McCarthy gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed Huckleberry Finn."
"Review" by , "Cormac McCarthy gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed Huckleberry Finn."
"Review" by , "Suttree may be [McCarthy's] magnum opus...probably the funniest and most unbearably sad of [his] books...which seem to me unsurpassed in American literature."
"Synopsis" by , 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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