Jeffrey Keeten's Reviews > Suttree

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
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Jan 06, 15

Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Read from May 28 to June 04, 2012

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, tosspots, sots and archsots, lobcocks, smellsmocks, runagates, rakes, and other assorted and felonious debauchees.

I was drunk, cried Suttree.


You were indeed Mr. Cornelius Suttree. You drank the river dry. Why, Suttree, why must you be so? You are a bright boy and there is really no call for you to be hanging about with the lowest of the low. You could have made something of yourself. You came from a good family...well most of the family tree seems pretty solid.

Mr. Suttree in what year did your greatuncle Jeffrey pass away?
It was in 1884.
Did he die by natural causes?
No sir.
And what were the circumstances surrounding his death.
He was taking part in a public function when the platform gave way.
Our information is that he was hanged for a homicide.
Yessir.


Every family has a few hiccups.

You don't like your family much. You are in hiding not only from them, but a wife and a son you left behind. You make a haphazard living running a trot line. Selling fish for nickles and dimes don't put much comfort in the belly. You live on the river in an abandoned house boat. That boat might be fine in the summer time, but it sure got damned cold in the winter time didn't it sir?

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Ice lay along the shore, frangible plates skewed up and broken on the mud and the small icegardens whitely all down the drained and frozen flats where delicate crystal columns sprouted from the mire. He hauled forth is shriveled giblet and pissed a long and smoking piss into the river and spat and buttoned and went in again. He kicked the door shut and stood before the stove in a gesture of enormous exhortation. A frozen hermit. His lower jaw in a seizure.

Your best friend, Gene Harrogate is a melonmounter. Yes, he stuck his dingus in a variety of citrullus vulgaris. They sent him to prison. What the hell else were they supposed to do with him? Once they found out in prison things got rough for the both of you didn't it Suttree? The crimes of the moonlight melonmounter followed him as crimes will. Yes sirree a prison bad ass put lumps on both your skulls.

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The Patch where Harrogate fell in lust.

Your other friend Billy Ray likes to beat up cops. He is barely recovered from one assault when he takes on another trio of cops. These aren't the right sorts of people to be friends with. You can't expect to live a long and healthy life surrounding yourself with people like this.

Are you sad Suttree?

You hook up with this pretty filly from Chicago. Wasn't her name Joyce? Yes, yes here it is in my notes... Joyce from Chicago. You really liked Joyce didn't ya? That woman knows her way around a penis.

There was all together too much of her sitting there, the broad expanse of thigh cradled in the insubstantial stocking and garters with the pale flesh pursed and her full breasts and the sootblack piping of her eyelids, a gaudish rake of metaldust in prussian blue where cerulean moths had fluttered her wake from some outlandish dream. Suttree gradually going away in the sheer outrageous sentience of her. Their glasses clicked on the tabletop. Her hot spiced tongue fat in his mouth and her hands all over him liked the very witch of fuck.

Unfortunately Joyce needs to keep plying her trade to keep you in clothes, toiletries, and living quarters. You are pretty cool about it, but the life of a whore starts to wear on her, and when she starts putting on weight then the real fireworks started. Yes indeed, one thing we know you are good at Suttree...yes we do...we know you are good at running.

Are you sad Suttree? Is it soul sadness?

It is no wonder you end up in the hospital with Typhoid Fever. You never eat right and you drink too much. You shiver and shake and suffer heat stroke. Your immune system is almost nonexistence. You almost checked out my friend. And now you have this writer...this Cormac McCarthy character from Knoxville who wrote a book about you.

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Cormac McCarthy

The questions will just never end now. So what's next for Suttree? At the end of the book you are, supposedly, finally shaking the dust of Tennessee from your clothes.

He was a man with no plans for going back the way he'd come nor telling any soul at all what he had seen. Too late Suttree, you are just too damn late.
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Reading Progress

05/29/2012 page 49
10.0% ""The crimes of the moonlight melonmounter followed him as crimes will." I've never laughed this much reading a McCarthy. I'm sure he will be hitting me with a big dose of depression any page now."
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 67) (67 new)


message 1: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary i have this book on my shelf...unread.... is it good? is it worth the time?? what about BLOOD MERIDIAN?

i really liked NEW COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN,and i also really liked ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, but I tried to read it's sequel and stalled.....


Jeffrey Keeten Gary wrote: "i have this book on my shelf...unread.... is it good? is it worth the time?? what about BLOOD MERIDIAN?

i really liked NEW COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN,and i also really liked ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, but I ..."


Blood Meridian will kick you in the teeth. It is a brutal, beautiful piece of writing. Considered by most people including me to be his best novel. Although that said, Suttree is really, really good infused with more humor. I laughed several times within the first 50 pages and I can't remember ever laughing before reading McCarthy.


message 3: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Laughing with McCarthy.....really??? Were you drinking?????? LOL.

Guess I need to dust this one off..... I also need to get a copy of Blood Meridian....eh?


Jeffrey Keeten Gary wrote: "Laughing with McCarthy.....really??? Were you drinking?????? LOL.

Guess I need to dust this one off..... I also need to get a copy of Blood Meridian....eh?"


That was the weird part I was stone cold sober. I'm sure the other steel-toed boot will drop any minute now. I'd read Suttree first and then tackle Blood Meridian.


message 5: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Thanks, Jeffery , for the tips...... We are going to be visiting my inlaws, who live in Leavenworth , Kansas the week of July 4th...... too bad we couldn't meet up and have coffee, or a bit a alcohol,and discuss books....I could try to have Suttree , read by then...... you do live quite a distance from Leavenworth, but I am driving from St. Louis to get there....... anyway...... thanks.


Jeffrey Keeten Gary wrote: "Thanks, Jeffery , for the tips...... We are going to be visiting my inlaws, who live in Leavenworth , Kansas the week of July 4th...... too bad we couldn't meet up and have coffee, or a bit a alcoh..."

I will keep that in mind. I'm pretty sure all my relatives are showing up at my house for the 4th to watch the fireworks in Dodge City. I get over to Missouri often enough that I will keep you in mind. If I get close I'll let you know. They used to have a farm show in St. Louis, but they shut it down. I used to get over for that once a year.


message 7: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary We will be there the 5th till the 8th....I would love to be able to get away from the inlaws,and meet you somewhere...anywhere..... Keep me posted.....


I will have no computer access when I get there.... are you comfortable with my cell phone number? text me, or call? gary


message 8: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary or if you get to the stl area.....that too!
gary


Jeffrey Keeten Gary wrote: "We will be there the 5th till the 8th....I would love to be able to get away from the inlaws,and meet you somewhere...anywhere..... Keep me posted.....


I will have no computer access when I get t..."

No problem. Send me your cell phone via my email. jkeeten@gmail.com As we get closer to time I'll know my schedule better. No computer access? Holy moly I hope your in-laws at least have booze available.


message 10: by Dan (new) - rated it 1 star

Dan I didn't really like suttre, but blood meridian... that is one of the best books I have ever read, and probably the most violent.


message 11: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary I sent it to your email on here....I guess I don't read directions very well....sorry. I hope that's ok....


message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve We need all the stars we can get when words like poltroons, spalpeens, clotpolls, topers, tosspots, lobcocks, and smellsmocks are bandied. Another great review, Jeffrey!


Melki I was calling Harrogate the "melon-baller", but "melonmounter" is nice too.
Wonder how it compares to Portnoy's liver?


message 14: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Sckenda OMG JEFFREY. This is the perfect review. You have caught the tone and cadence of McCarthy with pitch perfect selection of material. I just don't think I could write this good of a review, but I can't wait to read this book that awaits me. I have to always gird up my loins for reading McCarthy, who is usually a little too bleak and violent for my taste, but a man of such lyrical eloquence (is that appropriate for the written word?) must be read right away. But first, I must find a citrullus vulgaris I have been craving and with which I must first ungird my loins before regirding them for the task of reading CM.


Jeffrey Keeten Melki wrote: "I was calling Harrogate the "melon-baller", but "melonmounter" is nice too.
Wonder how it compares to Portnoy's liver?"


I laughed so hard reading Portnoy's Complaint.


Jeffrey Keeten Steve wrote: "OMG JEFFREY. This is the perfect review. You have caught the tone and cadence of McCarthy with pitch perfect selection of material. I just don't think I could write this good of a review, but I c..."

Yes to truly appreciate this book I think you need to do some melonmounting. I know your wife might feel it is a little strange, but all in the name of research. Thank You Steve. I'm glad you liked the review. It was fun to write.


Jeffrey Keeten Steve wrote: "We need all the stars we can get when words like poltroons, spalpeens, clotpolls, topers, tosspots, lobcocks, and smellsmocks are bandied. Another great review, Jeffrey!"

Thank you Steve. This was a good example of why we should read McCarthy...the archaic and wonderful language he uses to describe his world.


message 18: by Terry (new)

Terry Nice work! I really enjoyed this review Jeffrey.


Jeffrey Keeten Terry wrote: "Nice work! I really enjoyed this review Jeffrey."

Thanks Terry. I had fun writing it.


Bennet Where did you find that perfect houseboat pic, and that looks like the Henley Street Bridge. Is it Knoxville?

I read your review twice without stopping just to enjoy the language, yours and McCarthy's. I love the excerpts you used and that you laughed a lot reading this. I did too. A couple of time just busted out. Was also sickened, saddened, maddened, and just about everything else. I am with you on the 5 stars, and yours is exactly the review I'd have written if I could.


Jeffrey Keeten I do believe that is a pic from Knoxville. I just put in a bunch of various search terms in google. I'm tenacious when looking for the right photo.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the review. There are so many great Suttree reviews on goodreads already I just wanted to do something different. I had no idea I was going to do this type of review until I began to write. About half way through I thought to myself this is crazy and almost started over. I'm glad I decided to keep this format. It was one of my most fun reviews to write. Thank you Miss Bennet.


message 22: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike What next for Suttree? As he rides west into the declining sun, the sky blood red, he shouts, "Hidy, Hidy, Hidy! Look at me! I'm a COWBOY!" *KOFF*

Loved the review!


message 23: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Sckenda Jeffrey wrote: I think you need to do some melonmounting. I know your wife might feel it is a little strange, but all in the name of research..."

Research Field Note #1: Do not overheat said melon in the microwave. 98 degrees is very difficult to approximate in the microwave. OUCH!


Jeffrey Keeten Mike wrote: "What next for Suttree? As he rides west into the declining sun, the sky blood red, he shouts, "Hidy, Hidy, Hidy! Look at me! I'm a COWBOY!" *KOFF*

Loved the review!"


Thanks Mike. You already wrote a great review so I had to come up with something else.


Jeffrey Keeten Steve wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: I think you need to do some melonmounting. I know your wife might feel it is a little strange, but all in the name of research..."

Research Field Note #1: Do not overheat said melon..."


You know...for the experiment to truly have some authenticity you really should go out into a watermelon farmer's patch and have a go. Question is do you draw an enticing picture on the watermelon or do you just close your eyes and let your imagination fill in the missing curves? And how long do you have before the farmer shows up with a shotgun? If you are caught I guess we would find out how good a litigator you are. haha.


message 26: by Steve (last edited Jun 05, 2012 06:33PM) (new) - added it

Steve Sckenda Jeffrey wrote: You know...for the experiment to truly have some authenticity you really should go out into a watermelon farmer's patch and have a go...."

Well, two melons at the same time obviate the need for closing one's eyes and thinking of grapefruit. Beware of seeds, however, they are prone to get lodged in the darndest of places and hell to extract.


message 27: by Wordsmith (last edited Jun 06, 2012 11:28AM) (new) - added it

Wordsmith Need another *like* thingy just to *like* all these comments that are as *likable* as Jeffery's most excellent review on "Suttree."


message 28: by Mark (new)

Mark fascinating review........does it have to be a melon or would a butternut squash do !!!


Jeffrey Keeten Wordsmith wrote: "Need another *like* thingy just to *like* all these comments that are as *likable* as Jeffery's most excellent review on "Suttree.""

Thanks Wordsmith I'm so glad you liked the review and comments. I am so lucky to have such a witty bunch of friends on goodreads.


Jeffrey Keeten Mark wrote: "fascinating review........does it have to be a melon or would a butternut squash do !!!"

Thanks Mark. If there is a will there is a way! I'm not sure why Harrogate was so taken with melons in particular. It provided some laugh out loud moments for me in the book.


message 31: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie right, it's time to revisit Self-defense Against Fresh Fruit


Jeffrey Keeten B0nnie wrote: "right, it's time to revisit Self-defense Against Fresh Fruit"

Fruit of the month club takes on a whole new meaning.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

This review was great!!


Jeffrey Keeten Jeremy wrote: "This review was great!!"

Thank you Jeremy I'm so glad you liked it!! I sure had fun writing it.


message 35: by Blackbook (new) - added it

Blackbook Great review!


Jeffrey Keeten Blackbook wrote: "Great review!"

Thanks Blackbook! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Bennet Jeffrey, happened upon this review in the feed and recalled commenting but evidently I failed to like it at the time. I just fixed that. It really is the review I'd have written if I could. Outstanding.


Jeffrey Keeten Bennet wrote: "Jeffrey, happened upon this review in the feed and recalled commenting but evidently I failed to like it at the time. I just fixed that. It really is the review I'd have written if I could. Outstan..."

Thank you so much Bennet. I hadn't intended this to go back into the feed. I'm copying and pasting my reviews to google documents and somehow I released this review back into the feed. This is my favorite review that I have written. Not bad for an amateur. :-)


message 39: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes Not bad for anyone!


message 40: by David (new) - added it

David
like the very witch of fuck.


Holy shit, that has to be the best quote ever.

McCarthy is an acquired taste. My first McCarthy was The Road and I hated it. But I liked No Country for Old Men and loved Blood Meridian. I'll have to read this too.


Jeffrey Keeten Will wrote: "Not bad for anyone!"

Thanks Will!


Jeffrey Keeten David wrote: "like the very witch of fuck.

Holy shit, that has to be the best quote ever.

McCarthy is an acquired taste. My first McCarthy was The Road and I hated it. But I liked No Country for Old Men and lo..."


McCarthy is hard to recommend because people have such decisive reactions to him, depending on the book. You hating The Road is a perfect example. I didn't think it was one of McCarthy's best, but I thought it was a middle of the road (not an intended pun) serviceable novel. Since you liked Blood Meridian I feel confident that you will enjoy this one. I thought this book had much more humor than McCarthy's other works. It is hard to beat out Blood Meridian as my favorite McCarthy, but Suttree is a much easier book to recommend to people wanting to put their toe in the McCarthy pool.


Saurabh Shit, that is the best review I've ever read. Thank you Jeffrey.


Jeffrey Keeten Saurabh wrote: "Shit, that is the best review I've ever read. Thank you Jeffrey."

You're welcome Saurabh and thank you! I've written 200+ reviews for GR and I got to say this is my favorite. I just starting riffing to get started and the next thing I knew I'd written this alternative review and I almost deleted it so that I could write a regular review. I read back through it and decided to keep it...whew! If you want to read a similar styled review check out my review of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 45: by Harry (new)

Harry Melon review, nicely done. I've not read McCarthy...and my oh my the melon patch is where we all belong I suppose :-)


Jeffrey Keeten Harry wrote: "Melon review, nicely done. I've not read McCarthy...and my oh my the melon patch is where we all belong I suppose :-)"

That's for sure. If you are looking for a good place to start with McCarthy this would not be a bad choice.


Rayroy I think this book not The Great Gatsby is the 20th Century's Great American Novel!


Jeffrey Keeten Rayroy wrote: "I think this book not The Great Gatsby is the 20th Century's Great American Novel!"

That is a bold statement. I like it! :-)


Rayroy Thank you. There's something about Cornelius Suttree hanging out with society's unwanted children, loafing around , getting drunk around Knoxville, not working or having a need for a lot of money, living in a houseboat on the river, when Suttree doesn't have to live that way but chooses to, that's more American, says more about America then what happens at Great Gatsby's Party near East Egg NY, attended by privileged rich folk with not enough heart and too much money, dressed in ungodly costumes.


message 50: by Sean (new)

Sean Cannon wow language sounds like a sputtering 1985 Chevy Silverado. Do you have a wife?


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