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on 11 December 2009
Let me start by saying that I love this book. I just finished reading it about a month ago and can safely say that it is one of the best books I have read. However it wasn't always this way.
I initially bought the book on the strength of the reviews on Amazon. I was already a fan of McCarthy after having read The Road, Outer Dark, and No Country for Old Men, however on first reading of this book I found it impossibly verbose and over the top with its florid prose. I promptly left the book for about 6 months only to pick it back up during a dry period when I had nothing else to read. It was then that I actually gave the book a chance.

I do not think that any Cormac McCarthy book can be reviewed properly by most anyone. A reviewer will always pick up on the parts that make it up - so for instance the language used and the structure etc - however all attempts to focus on these individual bit loses sight of the overall effect, feeling and sentiment that McCarthy always succesfully conveys through his work. Suttree is a book that I feel doesn't dffer here.
On the surface its about the eponymous characters life on the side of the river in Knoxville and to be fair not a lot happens. He goes to town, meets people, fishes etc. However this once again, as mentioned earlier, fails to capture the dark and mythic way in which McCarthy can describe the most mundane things. In fact it is these innocuous and ostensibly boring things that make this book magic.

If you have readanything else by McCarthy I would certainly suggest reading this. You get a sense that this is a more personal book than others by him andthat there is something special about it. I think if you have already read McCarthy then you will know how he is and therefore not be too supprised by what you find in this book, however newcomers may find that it laack pace at points and may be generally shocked by his weird style of writting (no "speech marks" etc)

All in all I dont think I have read a book about moulding decaying driftwood, scum filled water and life at the bottom of the ladder that I could enjoy more.

Entropy is the lord of all
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on 9 August 2011
Another amazing book, just as captivating and riveting as any other book by McCarthy. This is a lot longer that his other books, at 568 pages but somehow you will still finish it quicker than most other books. If you are a McCarthy virgin i would recommend starting elsewhere, as this is not the one to see if you like his style.
The synopsis tells you all you need to know, just buy it and read it.
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on 3 March 2014
What a craftsmen McCarthy is, a true master of descriptive writing . You can taste the dark and oppressive world in which Sutree exists. The only reason I haven't given it five stars is because at times as powerful as it is. I feel the that the use of language interrupted the flow of the story. Although maybe this is just me not being literate enough. Surely this will be used as something to aspire to?
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on 15 April 2010
I've never before felt compelled to write a review about anything on these pages before, although I often browse other peoples.

Having read and enjoyed to varying extents The Road, The Border Trilogy and Blood Meridian, I already knew enough of McCarthy's writing to presume I would find something to like in Suttree. After 100 pages I gave up. The style is dense and hallucinogenic and I am not afraid to admit that I found myself reaching for a dictionary on a number of occasions (often more than once before I was able to escape to the next page).

A few weeks later, sure that I would regret not finishing the novel, I returned to it again; I shall be forever thankful that I did. In my mind this novel sits alongside the greatest works ever written. A magnificent rumination on love, loss, life and death, and one of the most compelling studies of masculinity I have ever encountered, I urge anyone who enjoys McCarthy's work to add this to their basket.

It isn't easy, but you won't regret it.
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on 1 November 2014
Simply a fantastic novel. This is the fourth Cormac McCarthy book I have read (the others being the Road, Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men) and differs quite significantly from the others. Previously my experience of McCarthy has been the use of quite concise, matter of fact descriptions of events and people whereas this novel is incredibly wordy and uses such a rich and obscure range of language you have to just let it wash over you and not worry about what it all necessarily means. The novel has no particular plot and charts the seemingly random events in the life of the protagonist Suttree and his various friends and acquaintances on the dark, shambolic edge of town. To me this was an homage to the fringes of society and the richness of life there. It records the alternately hilarious, moving and incredible events that befall people but which ultimately are lost in time. By the end of the novel I found myself feeling a sense of nostalgia for this place and it's people and was entertained throughout. Simply a must read for McCarthy fans, but as I've said, quite unlike his other works so probably one to come to with an open mind.
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on 2 January 2011
Cornelius Suttree lives on the margins of society both physically and economically. This is a large book with a raft of eccentric down and outs with whom it is easy to empathise. Because of the author's relatively recent fame he is now prey to all sorts of criticisms from people who don't like his style. He does have a very distinctive, almost biblical, style, but not liking it is not a valid reason for criticism (I hated Madame Bovary the character, but I enjoyed the book). If you are familiar with CM then you can buy with absolute confidence. If not, you might want to think about "All the Pretty Horses" as a shorter entry to this fantastic writer.
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on 16 December 2014
Aa a McCarthy fan I had to read this but found it a little tedious. The usual excellent observations, tone and pace allied to his supremely crafted language. That said, at the end of it I wasn't particularly satisfied. It reminded me of going out for a Michelin starred meal and then stopping off on the way home for a bag of chips.

If you are a fan then you have to read it. However, if you are a McCarthy newbie I would plump for Blood Meridian.
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on 24 April 2011
A magnificent novel. Not an 'easy read' - McCarthy never is - and it takes a while to settle in to his pyrotechnical prose. But I urge you to throw away the dictionary and persevere. The rewards are multitude. Think Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Dylan Thomas - then ratchet up the volume. But what next to read? Nothing can compete with this mindblowing evocation of time and place and this cast of outlandish, eccentric, yet totally believable characters.
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on 1 January 2013
Make no mistake about it, this is a difficult novel - the language is convoluted and obscure, even by McCarthy's standards; and yet every word is exactly the right word. The plot doesn't particularly matter, although there are incidents galore - many of them hysterically funny. Who would have thought that the author of Blood Meridian could do a good fart gag? Beautiful, funny, tragic (of course, it's a McCarthy novel, after all), but no without some shreds of hope amid the despair, this is simply one of my favourite novels. I understand why you might hurl it aside after a few chapters, but please, please, persist until the end - you won't regret it..
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on 8 June 2014
The only downside to this fantastic novel is that once you have read it you will wonder if you will ever find another book that comes even close. Hats off to you Cormac McCarthy.
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