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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,257 Ratings  ·  943 Reviews
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 ri ...more
Paperback, 471 pages
Published May 1992 by Vintage International (first published 1979)
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Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyThe Road by Cormac McCarthyNo Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthyChild of God by Cormac McCarthySuttree by Cormac McCarthy
Best Cormac McCarthy Books
5th out of 19 books — 128 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Southern Literature
82nd out of 887 books — 2,199 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 02, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: southern
Mr. Suttree it is our understanding that at curfew rightly decreed by law and in that hour wherein nigh draws to its proper close and the new day commences and contrary to conduct befitting a person of your station you betook yourself to various low places within the shire of McAnally and there did squander several ensuing years in the company of thieves, derelicts, miscreants, pariahs, poltroons, spalpeens, curmudgeons, clotpolls, murderers, gamblers, bawds, whores, trulls, brigands, topers, to ...more
Jul 10, 2014 karen rated it it was amazing
like faulkner, except good...
Eddie Watkins
Oct 08, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Life as infinitely detailed turbid flow. Life’s flow so drenched with death there’s hardly need of another name for it; death as life’s incorporated twin. It’s all a river and it flows. Suttree is saturated with this outlook, this philosophy, though it remains unspoken, instead being simply shown, in a style itself all detail and turbid flow. In fact, the style itself is so integral to the book’s texture and meaning, and the structure of it all so structureless (being modeled on riverflow as it ...more
Lane Wilkinson
Apr 06, 2008 Lane Wilkinson rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lane by: Andrew
'Suttree' goes directly into my own, personal daydream of the idealized 20th century canon. The heavily stylized prose hearkens back to the works of Joyce, Steinbeck, Algren, Faulkner, and Celine. Indeed, I have yet to encounter another book that so perfectly synthesizes these five unique voices of 20th century literature

'Suttree', at heart, is a sort of urban pastoral, replete with the myriad voices of a depressed, post-war Knoxville. Cornelius Suttree's wanderings echo precisely the tourist-gu
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
This is quite the slow burn. Most of Mccarthy's other works are very plot-driven, and you see that really reinforced in his western novels where you have this incredibly hypnotic language coalescing with (often horrific) events to create this sort of magisterial whirlwind of doom which just pulls you in with it's richness. That sort of building up takes a back burner here in favor of something which just sort of flows out in all directions, trying to encompass totally the world of the downtrodde ...more
May 25, 2012 Lawyer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Goodreads Group "On the Southern Literary Trail"
Suttree: Cormac McCarthy's Conclusion to a Southern Quartet

Suttree was published February 1, 1979.


First Edition

On the dust jacket Cormac McCarthy appears a young man.


McCarthy's first novel, The Orchard Keeper was published in 1965. Sources clearly indicate that Suttree was already a work in progress. Jerome Charyn reviewed Suttree for the New York Times and said that McCarthy actually wrote Suttree over a thirty year span. I wouldn't argue. It's just that good. It's just that perfect.

May 16, 2012 Melki rated it it was amazing
A man spends a few years of his life living on the river; years that are filled with catfish and carp, sex and death, vile bodies, and viler bodily fluids. Coffeecolored and seething, the river waits, always in the background, vying for billing as protagonist.

He could hear the river talking softly beneath him, heavy old river with wrinkled face.

The book is filled with adventures in drunken debauchery and foiled get-rich-quick schemes. And always, always, there is some heinous concoction to cloud
Dec 07, 2007 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Things I learned from this book:
1)"But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse."
2)If you fuck every pumpkin in a pumpkin field you're liable to go to the county workhouse. I don't reckon there is one of them here, so I also reckon it's just about ok to fuck all them pumpkins.
Feb 15, 2015 Cosimo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dove i vivi e i morti sono una cosa sola

“In piedi tra le foglie urlanti Suttree invocava il fulmine. Che scoppiò e tuonò e lui indicò il proprio cuore ottenebrato e lo supplicò per un po' di luce. Sennò riduci queste ossa in cenere. Si sedette contro un albero e guardò il temporale spostarsi sopra la città. Sono forse un mostro, ci sono dei mostri dentro di me?”

Sul silenzioso fiume Tennessee, Suttree è un naufrago che diserta la vita, un profugo in fuga dalla quiete di una esistenza programmata,
So, I read this book because my Goodreads friend Cody is always raving about what a great book this is. And, he is right, it's a masterpiece. Every sentence is a thing of beauty, a work of art. And Suttree and Harrogate are two of the most memorable characters in fiction.

The only quibble I have is that McCarthy likes to show off his extensive vocabulary. I had a pretty good education and have read thousands of books, so I think my vocabulary is better than average, but there were still quite a f
Feb 19, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
Suttree is an unusual book by McCarthy, for it lacks the genre conventions he sometimes employs and subverts. Here there is no plot, and it is focused on the picaresque adventures of the eponymous hero and his gang of misfits and compatriots. Comic misadventures and schemes a lá Twain occur, passages of beat gutter poetry, stark imagery and characters out of medieval allegory or the Old Testament (Witches, fools, and madmen); makes for a strange but beautifully written book. The prose creates it ...more
Jun 25, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, 5-estrelas
"Às vezes não percebo para que é que servem as vidas das pessoas."

Suttree não é um romance para quem gosta de "despachar" páginas. Exige entrega e leitura serena, para se poder apreciar a extraordinária beleza das descrições dos locais e das gentes.
Suttree não é um romance para quem gosta de personagens "bonitas". Aqui convivemos com vagabundos, velhos, criminosos, prostitutas, bêbedos,... Criaturas feias, fedorentas, que escarram, que falam mal, que dizem palavrões,...
Suttree não é um romance
Mar 02, 2010 Abailart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A goodreader's recommendation has come at the right moment.

Arrived a bit late from amazon, and I have only just finished James Kelman. But I have read the first sentence, and here goes....

It is marvellous. Somewhat as McCarthy, I'll refract and draw a few straight lines but first one way of seeing it whole. It's ethical, of course, and not moral, and the distinction between the two is immense in this book. An oddyssey of one man who is all souls in an underworld (literally most of the settings a
Brent Godwin
Jul 23, 2015 Brent Godwin rated it it was amazing
It almost seems insulting to call this a work of art, because that is so cliche and nothing about this book is cliche. But it IS a work of art. McCarthy is a genius, and it's a shame that he is not more highly regarded than he is. Not an easy book to read. I am a fast reader, but this one took me almost a month. Very dense at times, but take your time and appreciate the pictures McCarthy paints with his words. Just incredible. Suttree is a unique character and extremely likeable, in my opinion. ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Chrissie rated it did not like it
I am dumping this after having listened to one fourth of the audiobook. I thought I would avoid the author's annoying propensity of never using commas by listening to the audiobook. My mistake!

This isn't worth my time. The language is filthy. The book is boring, and it goes forward at the pace of a snail. I don't have trouble reading about the "down and out" if handled with finesse. Songdogs by the talented author Colum McCann is just one example. Cormac McCarthy seems to believe that I will be
There is a certain variety of the species H. sapiens—more often than not White, almost exclusively male—who vehemently contend that Blood Meridian is not only Cormac McCarthy’s greatest book, but the greatest novel of all time. Sorry to say, gentlemen, that I disagree with you on both counts (but we’re still on for lifting, bros). As great as Meridian is, it pales to this White Male by several hectares to McCarthy’s true masterpiece, Suttree. (I won’t even address the second contention.)

Don’t le
Leo Robertson
Dnf @160.
Not really in the mood for this one this... lifetime.

I started skipping because I wanted story, but the parts I was skipping- the lengthy descriptions and apparently poetic prose were clearly what I was supposed to be reading this for- that is, no story, just sprawling, rambling description that hits on those same tired "revelations" of so many "wise" authors. All that stuff about, oh no, I am no longer in my mother, oh no, one day I will die, oh no, life is so tragic because of these t
There is a line near the end of this book that will stick with me the rest of my life. It not only describes the entire journey of this masterpiece, but it's a bit a sound bit of advice on how to get through life.

"He had divested himself of the little cloaked godlet and his other amulets in a place where they would not be found in his lifetime and he'd taken for talisman the simple human heart within him."

Such is the story of Cornelius "Buddy" Suttree, a man who cuts himself off from his family
Feb 13, 2011 Caris rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Michael
Recommended to Caris by: Eric Hendrixson
Shelves: 2011
This book took me forever. It wasn’t bad or boring. Rather, it simply refused to conform to my expectations.

I expected the pages to fly by. They did not. I expected Cormac McCarthy’s stripped down writing style, but it wasn’t there. In fact, the sentences were often unnecessary complicated and wordy. This baffled the shit out of me and I could never get over it. It confused me on the first page and it confused me on the last.

It reminded me very much of the sections of Jack Kerouac’s work that
Sep 21, 2012 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is absolutely beautiful. It holds it's place right behind Gaiman's American Gods as my second favorite novel ever written.

Let me explain: When I first read The Road, I immediately fell in love with Cormac McCarthy’s writing style. The absence of quotation marks, the SAT vocabulary, the full-page long comma-less sentences, and vivid imagery, while off-putting to many, for me was the literary equivalent of an orgasm. The story was not what I expected or wanted it to be, but the writing h
Sentimental Surrealist
Now, don't get me wrong, sir or madam. I have nothing against McCarthy's more famous later novels. No Country for Old Men and the Road were both fine reads, stellar in places. But I'd have to place prime era Cormac back a few years. And while my favorite of his novels is still Blood Meridian, I'd put this at a close second.

In terms of structure, this is a unique novel. It doesn't so much have a conventional plot that follows a series of events and shows how the characters react to these events.
Aug 28, 2012 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
It is amazing how McCarthy can find the lyrical beauty in an absurd gout of hallelucinationatory crazy. Absolutely one of my favorite novels of all time (nearly stripped McCarthy's Blood Meridian of its bloody title). Reads like Steinbeck wrote a play based on a David Lynch film about a nightmare child of Fellini and Faulkner that is now worshiped as scripture by pimps, prostitutes, grifters, fishmongers and of course fishermen.

At times Suttree hits me like a complicated musical chorus, a surre
chase Adams
Jul 23, 2007 chase Adams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fives
"One among the younger was sent for a chicken from his mother's yard and they plucked it and roasted it on a wire and passed about a warm RC Cola and told lies."

"Her hot spiced tongue flat in his mouth and her hands all over him like the very witch of fuck."

Feb 17, 2015 Simona rated it it was amazing
"La bellezza del mondo ha due tagli, uno di gioia, l'altro di angoscia e taglia in due il mondo".

Questa citazione di Virginia Woolf rappresenta nel migliore dei modi la sintesi di questo romanzo di McCarthy, dove da un lato regna l'angoscia e dall'altro la bellezza, la poesia.
Suttree è desolazione, è rassegnazione, è dolore, è solitudine, è miseria. McCarthy è bravissimo nel descrivere la sporcizia, il sudiciume, lo schifo, la miseria, il ribrezzo che circondano la vita di Suttree, un uomo dal
Somewhere in the gray wood by the river is the huntsman and in the brooming corn and in the castellated press of cities. His work lies all wheres and his hounds tire not. I have seen them in a dream, slaverous and wild and their eyes crazed with ravening for souls in this world. Fly them.

Death is central to this tome just as it is to all things and suffering likewise. Suttree the book and Suttree the man ask deep and primitive questions like what it is to be in a world with the knowledge that so
Sep 06, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
Beautiful and haunting prose. Lyrical.

McCartney has been compared to Faulkner, BukowskI, and John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row.“ I have read Faulkner and Bukowski, and once was more than enough. But I can’t get enough of McCarthy at the moment. So, I can only understand a little of what they are saying in regards to the first two writers. Comparisons to John Steinbeck, yes. I see the resemblance, but I loved Steinbeck‘s characters. I don‘t always like McCarthy’s.

So why read McCarthy if his characte
Wayne Barrett
Mar 03, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it
~I learned that there is one Suttree and one Suttree only.
I see, said the priest.
Suttree shook his head. No, he said. You don't.~

McCarthy pens a novel like Bukowski pens poetry. Dipped in whiskey and laced with the realism of life's profanities. There aren't many writers out there that can match McCarthy when it comes to taking the debased and the vile and weaving them into a tapestry of poetic and lyrical prose fit for the finest collections of literature.

~Mr Suttree it is our understanding th
Aug 17, 2012 Snotchocheez rated it liked it

Given Suttree is, according to my fellow Goodreads users, (at 4.20) the highest rated of Cormac McCarthy's novels, I feel like the nay-saying, rock-slinging philistine giving it anything less than 5 stars. Despite my mixed feelings/reservations (and frustrations with) McCarthy's works I (at the suggestion from a friend) thought I'd give it a try. And, unfortunately, found it, despite its many strengths, being the perfect representation of everything I dislike about McCarthy's writing.

Nov 20, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Mr. McCarthy. You've out done yourself once again. You've constructed a book about a social outcast that precedes and has much more resonance than what the best of Bret Easton Ellis, Palahniuk (and other like contemporary authors) can offer. Your urban squalor transcends time. Suttree, our hero, is the hero of the everyman and any given time. Forsaking a life of privilage, our hero continually finds himself on the receiving end of heartbreak, of terrible luck. He is surrounded the ber ...more
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Did I miss something?? 21 261 Jun 22, 2013 11:20AM  
On the Southern L...: Cormac McCarthy's style - complaints, praise, etc. 27 109 Sep 23, 2012 09:37AM  
The Bookhouse Boys: Suttree 23 27 Aug 06, 2012 10:47AM  
On the Southern L...: Suttree - First Impressions, May 2012 15 55 Jun 09, 2012 07:48AM  
On the Southern L...: the Suttree "Dear friend" prologue, May 2012 11 68 May 22, 2012 09:40AM  
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Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

His earlier Blood M
More about Cormac McCarthy...

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“But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse” 67 likes
“What do you believe?
I believe that the last and the first suffer equally. Pari passu.
It is not alone in the dark of death that all souls are one soul.
Of what would you repent?
One thing. I spoke with bitterness about my life and I said that I would take my own part against the slander of oblivion and against the monstrous facelessness of it and that I would stand a stone in the very void where all would read my name. Of that vanity I recant all.”
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