3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fun for masochists,
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This review is from: Suttree (Kindle Edition)
As it was the only one of McCarthy's I had yet to read, I saved this book for months on my Kindle as a special treat; it turned out to be more of a punishment than a pleasurable experience.
The main protagonist is Cornelius 'Buddy' Suttree, an intelligent, well-educated, and good-looking young man, who has decided to become a directionless bum living on a houseboat on the river at Knoxville, Tennessee. I am afraid I really struggled with it, and by halfway through was tempted to slit my wrists. There is no doubt that it is very cleverly written: the density and texture of the prose always match the environment being described, and there are great touches of black humour. Suttree is kind and loyal to his friends (the exception being his female lovers), but it was impossible to know what that pretty head was thinking as he drifted from one drunken brawl to another.
I would love to know why Suttree is estranged from his family, to the extent that he can't meet his mother face-to-face or read her letters. Is this book semi-autobiographical? Perhaps that was why McCarthy was unwilling to throw light on this area. However, without proper insights into Buddy's character, the book is merely a series of well-written anecdotes about the rough side of life in Knoxville.
Conclusion: if you can't find a hair shirt, try this instead.