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Suttree (Picador Books) Paperback – 3 Aug 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 4 edition (3 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330306421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330306423
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Description

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) "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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

This compelling novel has as its protagonist Cornelius Suttree, living alone and in exile in a disintegrating houseboat on the wrong side of the Tennessee River close by Knoxville. He stays at the edge of an outcast community inhabited by eccentrics, criminals and the poverty-stricken. Rising above the physical and human squalor around him, his detachment and wry humour enable him to survive dereliction and destitution with dignity. ‘Suttree contains a humour that is Faulknerian in its gentle wryness, and a freakish imaginative flair reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’ Times Literary Supplement ‘Suttree marks McCarthy’s closest approach to autobiography and is probably the funniest and most unbearably sad of his books’ Stanley Booth

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First Sentence
Peering down into the water where the morning sun fashioned wheels of light, coronets fanwise in which lay trapped each twig, each grin of sediment, long flakes and blades of light in the dusty water sliding away like optic strobes where motes sifted and spun. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Hickey on 27 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have waited nearly a year to write this review. I have felt totally inadequate when trying to express an opinion of this book that potential readers might find useful. Previous reviewers have pretty much said it all. There was one particularly useful comment. It said, 'this book inhabits you'. It absolutely does.
The book isn't an easy holiday type read, I made extensive use of my new electronic dictonary. There were pages I read three times to try and better understand what I was reading. There is no real plot and it is not possibe to predict where things are going. The writing style takes getting used to as the author seems to make no consession to the reader. Sink or swim.
But, but, but do not let any of these things get in your way of purhasing this book now. Every ounce of effort you pour into this book will be rewarded in spades. It seeps down deep and touches your soul, it leaves its essence in your mind and heart and you will never, ever be released from its spell. There will be times when you will suddenly start and awake from your reading and wonder what magic was that, I was just there, I could see, smell, hear the sounds...
The book haunts my dreams, it stalks my daytime reveries. But oh, I do go on. Buy the book now, I do not doubt that you too will rage about the genius of this work.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By pixie freak on 12 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
I have loved all the Cormac McCarthy books I've read but this is my favourite.
Like all his books this is a bleak, lonesome tale that inhabits you. Despite its elegaic sadness there is humour and a core human warmth. I read this book almost two years ago and I still miss the key characters.
I urge you to read this book!
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
Suttree is the name of the character who the book is about, a man who lives on a houseboat in Knoxville and makes a threadbare living as a fisherman. In it's own way it's one of McCarthy's best. The book is very much in the author's distinctive style but there are many more descriptions of suburban settings than some of his books, and he really goes to town! No-one brings out the wild poetry of such places as wastelots, riversides, shanties and city catacombs like him. Suttree meets various characters who live very much 'on the fringe' like him. The dialogue is exceptional and there are some excrutiatingly funny moments. There are also some slower bits but this is fortunate since it helps you not to finish the book too quickly! The themes of the book are similar to 'Tortilla Flat' by Steinbeck, which is also delightful, but this work is much denser and deeper. I can sense that the author is personally very close to this work. If you like Cormac McCarthy, you should do yourself a favour and get hold of this one.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By N. Hughes on 18 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
People often ask what your favourite record is, or your top five movies, even your favourite food. I have always found it very difficult to answer these questions, and my answers will change from day to day depending on mood. Now Cormac McCarthy has brought a little certainty to my life. This is WITHOUT ANY SHADOW OF DOUBT my favourite book. It has everything from wry comedy to hideous tragedy, plot driven action to melancholy contemplation. Every adult male will recognise at least a part of himself in these destitute, stinky characters; and a very uncomfortable realization that can be. And to top it all off, the language employed by McCarthy is of the most beautiful expressive nature. I defy anyone to show me an author that can decribe a filthy riverbank, or a pickled vagrant with such obvious love of words. Go on, read it, and disagree if you dare. We are indeed 'whelmed in dark riot'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vittorio Caffè on 4 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
Believe me, this is Cormac's best novel. Better than Blood Meridian; better than The Road; better than No Country, etc. etc. Why do I say this? Well, this has a density that his other books don't have. And they're wonderful works, wonderfully written and with Something To Say. But this is special. His masterpiece. It seems it took him something like 30 years to write it. It shows. It's a prose poem, it's devastatingly funny at moments, it's often devastatingly tragic, and it has moments of pure poetry. The setting is perfectly captured; you're there, you can smell the Tennessee river and see colors and feel the heat or the cold of the days that Cornelius Suttree spends in McAnally Flats with the other misfits who manage to survive (not always) in the most destitute part of Knoxville. But it is not just a belated realistc book; it's a book that manages to tell a story by omitting a lot, and it's also another version of a very old myth, that of the Fisher King. And yeah, it's full of Eliot's Waste Land.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Rawling on 28 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
My daughter keeps asking me about my favourite things - be it colour, food, place - and I always have to tell her that I really can't choose. But when it comes to my favourite book, there is no hesitation: Suttree. Even more so than The Road (which I re-read annually), Outer Dark, or The Crossing, Suttree is the one book I would take with me if I had to abandon every material possession I own. Everything you need is in there, especially if you are a male of a certain age with a host of unanswered questions about the world. Many of the alleged classics of literature have bored me but this book never fails to surprise and challenge me, which is what all the great works of art that have endured must do. It will be read in 100 years time by the last remnants of humanity sat in the smouldering ashes, thumbing the charred pages and holding their copy with the reverence previously reserved for the Bible. Do not hesitate to order your copy now.
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