Suttree
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Suttree

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  9,429 ratings  ·  749 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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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
71st out of 756 books — 1,829 voters
The Road by Cormac McCarthyBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthySuttree by Cormac McCarthy
Best Cormac McCarthy Books
5th out of 13 books — 82 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 05, 2012 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
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
Eddie Watkins
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
karen
like faulkner, except good...
Lane Wilkinson
Apr 06, 2008 Lane Wilkinson rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Mike
May 25, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mike by: Goodreads Group "On the Southern Literary Trail"
Suttree: Cormac McCarthy's Conclusion to a Southern Quartet

Suttree was published February 1, 1979.

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First Edition

On the dust jacket Cormac McCarthy appears a young man.

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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.

Cornelius...more
Jeremy
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
Abailart
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...more
Greg
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.
Adam
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
Melki
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...more
Brent Godwin
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
Djrmel
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...more
Caris
Feb 13, 2011 Caris rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Brandon
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...more
chase Adams
"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."

Christopher
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...more
Charlie
I thought Blood Meridian was one of the best books I'd ever read - I still think so, I suppose, since I haven't re-read it in years, and have instead settled for recommending it with the kind of pretentious certainty (e.g., "Without a doubt one of the greatest novels written in the past century") I develop when I'm really enthusiastic.

But I'm wondering, now, whether I've been wrong all this time, and whether I might owe some people an apology, because Suttree is truly, astoundingly awful. So awf...more
Robert Farwell
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...more
Nick
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
Snotchocheez


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.

Published...more
Drew
For a book with little plot and a cipher for a main character, this blew me away. McCarthy continues to make me re-evaluate my opinion of him.

Though the characters are well-drawn (even if only sketched at times) and sometimes entertaining (e.g. Harrogate and his bat-holocaust) the real draw of this book is the style. McCarthy does not let up for one damn second. Every single descriptive sentence is impossibly lyrical; every untagged, unattributed line of dialogue is convincing as hell. Why have...more
CandyStripedBlue
"One spring morning timing the lean near-liquid progress of a horse on a track, the dust exploding, the rapid hasping of his hocks, coming up the straight foreshortened and awobble and passing elongate and birdlike with harsh breath and slatted brisket heaving and the muscles sliding and bunching in clocklike flexion under the wet black hide and a gout of foam hung from the long jaw and then gone in a muted hoofclatter, the aging magistrate snapped his thumb from the keep of the stopwatch he hel...more
Ginny_1807
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy
Wow. I really liked No Country For Old Men and The Road but this was a much more complete work of literature. The writing here reminded me of Steinbeck in the sense that the description of the seemingly mundane is somehow interesting. And it is wasn't necessarily the prose itself that made me feel that way. The prose was very dense and confusing and slowed me down and maybe made me think a little bit more. But the characters, particularly the main character, were fascinating to me. While there w...more
Aramys
Dios mio. Como he disfrutado de esta novela. Suttree es un personaje perfecto, Harrogate es un personaje perfecto. Novela difícil, lenta, novela gótica, Faulkneriana. Casi seiscientas páginas de McCarthy donde las sentencias, los paisajes, las olores, los colores, las peleas, la sangre, el dolor, la pobreza, el alma humana, todo, absolutamente todo pertenece a ese universo McCarthy tan característico, tan único, tan brutal y tan excelso. Novela imprescindible.
John
I decided to read this book because I saw a comment by Roger Ebert about the language McCarthy uses and it's brilliance. It's his masterpiece.

Well I can definitely say the Ebert was right about the language. Unless you're a lit major, a crossword junkie, or scrabble master be sure to have your dictionary at hand. Be ready to check on average two words per page. At 470 pages that's a lot of checking! After awhile I just gave up on accuracy and let the mood take me along.

I really wanted to like th...more
Larry Bassett
Dear friend now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of watertrucks and now when the drunk and the homeless have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys or abandoned lots and cats go forth highshouldered and lean in the grim perimeters about, now in these sootblacked brick or cobbled corridors where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no soul shall walk save you.


This is the first sentence in the prologue of Suttree, the f...more
Aprile
Difficile la lingua (ad essere pignoli serve il vocabolario anche quando lo si legge in traduzione), difficile l'impatto con un racconto che non concede sconti, non conosce la retorica, non fornisce giustificazioni o attenuanti alle azioni, non dà alcuno spazio all'ipocrisia o a vittimismi, è il rapporto nudo e crudo di un modo di vivere, lucidamente scelto, che conduce ad una chiara definizione dell'io del protagonista, bello o brutto che sia. Scrittore adulto, questo McCarthy...
Luís Miguel
Cormac está a tornar-se num ídolo para mim. A liberdade que irradia das paisagens que descreve é quase palpável, o estilo de vida que aqui apregoa é sentido (aparentemente auto-biográfico) e Suttree é a personagem mais memorável que lhe conheço - tendo em conta que estamos a falar de um consagrado, não é um elogio de circunstância. Tratando a história de um homem que vive do rio, no rio e quase para o rio é óbvio que nada é o que parece. O realismo que imprime a cada página, e lhe é característi...more
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....more
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Did I miss something?? 23 211 Jun 22, 2013 11:20AM  
On the Southern L...: McCarthy's style - complaints, praise, etc. 27 77 Sep 23, 2012 09:37AM  
The Bookhouse Boys: Suttree 23 23 Aug 06, 2012 10:47AM  
On the Southern L...: Suttree - First Impressions (please mark your spoilers) 15 44 Jun 09, 2012 07:48AM  
On the Southern L...: the several page "Dear friend" prologue 11 54 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
More about Cormac McCarthy...
The Road No Country for Old Men Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1) The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2)

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“But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse” 46 likes
“What do you believe?
I believe that the last and the first suffer equally. Pari passu.
Equally?
It is not alone in the dark of death that all souls are one soul.
Of what would you repent?
Nothing.
Nothing?
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.”
44 likes
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