My problem is the narrator's pronunciation of the title characters name. Here it is pronounced "SOOTREE" and I just can't get passed this. In a previous audio version of this novel it was pronounced as it is spelled, Sut rhyming with hut, so Suttree. It is all up to the interpretation of the reader, so it is difficult to discount this audio recording for this, but to my ears it just sounds wrong. The novel itself is beyond praise in my view. The prose and story are perfect and I love it dearly.
Technical specialist, dad, reader, dad, philosopher, dad, guitarist, dad, etc.
Everything about this book is great. Both the subtle but almost overbearing story and the way it's told, as well as Richard Poe's reading of it, are amazing.
This is the first audible book that made the website become almost like an addiction for me. It's the first book I sort of just picked out of the blue. I wanted a Cormac McCarthy book, but I wasn't sure which one I was in the mood for so I randomly picked this one. Poe's reading is the first performance of a book that made me say, "Wow...now I see why there are awards for this stuff." I have actually chosen a few more books based 75% on the fact that Poe reads them. But, none of them are as good as or lend as much to the story as the way he reads this one.
Characters are differentiated very well. It's hard to believe it's only one person reading them. I never appreciated story performance as much before hearing this one as I did afterwards.
Highly recommended. McCarthy's stories are almost always amazing, bu this performance really brings it to life.
Banning flags is like burning books.
Cormac McCarthy seems to have written this as a meditation against drink. This is a story without heroes, where nobody ever makes the right choices, and their suffering is made worse by that knowledge. McCarthy is masterful in creating an atmosphere of the choking, filthy miasma and all-consuming poverty of drunkards, fiends, perverts, thieves, and losers circling the bowl of a district in Knoxville, TN called McAnally Flats in the 1950's.
All of the characters are very much like long festering roadkill one happens upon when walking somewhere; exactly as you found them when you leave them. If you like morals and character development and clever dialog, this is not for you.
If you like to feel slightly nauseous and wishing you could take a shower when you read, or if you have ever wondered what your life might feel like if you simply gave up, spent every dime you had on awful, low-quality spirits, and woke up sore throated, under a tree in a junkyard, covered in vomit, sunburnt, bug-bitten, reeking of piss and shit and semen which is hopefully your own, then this book will give you some idea of what you have to look forward to.
I'm just a guy who hates Small talk, thanks to audible and a good set of ear buds. Not shopping, not even waiting rooms are a problem.
It's kinda gross.... In a lot of places. I mean... Do fish guts and flatulence need pages of description ?
Not really remarkable
No country for old men is much better
"You have no right to represent people this way. A man is all men. You have no right to your wretchedness." -Suttree
I enjoyed Blood Meridian more by Cormac McCarthy, but that is merely a tangent for you venture off to...
This book makes The Grapes of Wrath look like a giggle and a skip in the park. It's unrelenting hopelessness and vomit inducing descriptions of a homeless, drunk's life is anything but uplifting. I recommend you steer clear if you don't enjoy being depressed.
Poe's narration is staggeringly good.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ‘conversation’ between Cormac McCarthy and Don DeLillo, two of the great writers we still have. DeLillo, it seems to me reflects on the ways in which we, as contemporary Americans, find ourselves trapped inside our culture. We understand ourselves as in a bubble of our own collective creation, and our implicit sadness (a sadness that rises to tragedy in Underworld) is that we realize we cannot escape it.
As a result, DeLillo’s work is at its best when the culture – more specifically the art – at its heart is at its best. Mao II is great because Bill Gray (whose work we never read) feels like a great novelist, a great silenced novelist. White Noise fails for me because the “art” at its center – the parody of academia he calls Hitler Studies – is flimsy and forgettable.
I say that because I see McCarthy arriving at a similar frustration from the other end. He dismisses art and culture almost out of hand. Instead, he calls us to remember that, no matter our accomplishments as a culture, we remain “primates” as much at the mercy of the greater heavens as when we huddled in caves 15 millenia ago. He presents his thesis in every sentence he writes. No matter the story, his subject stays the same. He’s like an Old Testament prophet in the clarity of his warning: we are not special in the eyes of creation.
As a consequence, I’m not sure it matters which McCarthy you read. Everything he does has an almost equal excellence. There might as well be a McCarthy Reader, a collection of his greatest sentences and set-scenes. (And it would be a very long collection.)
That’s all prologue to saying that Suttree is just as great as virtually everything else I’ve read by McCarthy (and that’s everything he’s written in the last 30 years). Very little happens in this portrait of a determined loner, a man who’s turned his back on what privilege he has and determines to live by his means, but so what. Very little happens in Seinfeld and very little happens in Flaubert’s Un Coeur Simple. And that was the point of each. If you have a gift for exploring tone and the character of a person who is interesting even at rest, then you have all you need.
There are brilliant scenes here, too. In the opening, Suttree is fishing and he reflects on the idea of St. Peter as a “fisher of men.” Then, not much later, he sees a police barge that has just dredged up a suicide. He sees the body, a hook lodged through its check, and the metaphor becomes real…and staggering. You can’t help asking, “What are we?” What kind of creatures are we if we can die in such a tawdry and undignified way? And the answer is one we simply don’t want to hear.
Another brilliant passage comes when he is looking at an album of old photos with his aunt. He looks at the once beautiful faces of people he knows in their old age, and he gets off a passage (I can’t find the exact words just now) so staggering that it made my jaw drop, asking what sort of a god would choose flesh like ours as the site of a presumed individuality.
It’s blunt, brutal and deeply theological – theological in the oldest sense of the term, in the sense of a lost and dazed creature looking to the sky to make sense of suffering. It’s flat-out awe-inspiring work. To take just one example, “I always figured there was a god,” says an old man who has extracted from Suttree a promise to burn his body after he dies. “I just never did like him much.”
That said, I find myself thinking that part of McCarthy’s project is to explore genre with his powerful voice and focused imagination. He came to fame as a writer of “Westerns,” in Blood Meridian and the Border Trilogy. That’s four novels and 20 years, but it’s also only two projects. Since then he has clearly been playing in other genres; The Road is a post-apocalyptic book, and No Country for Old Men is, by narrative structure, a hardboiled noir thriller.
As such, at least in retrospect, I see Suttree as a kind of Southern-flavored Beat novel. Like On the Road, it has no real structure, and it’s driven by a perpetual hunger for experience. What’s more, that experience sits in opposition to – is subject to the disapproval of – law-abiding and conventional society.
I’m not saying it’s merely a Beat novel; it’s infused with all of McCarthy’s meditations on the primal power of the world and with his exploration of inherited religion to explain it. Still, as I wrap this one up, it seems to me interesting to think of this novel confirming the extent to which McCarthy – with that mythic voice and prophetic focus – needs the structure of genre to tell his take in its entirety.