©1979 Cormac McCarthy (P)2012 Recorded Books
“Suttree contains a humor that is Faulknerian … and a freakish imaginative flair reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor.” (Times Literary Supplement, London)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
It is amazing how McCarthy can find the lyrical beauty in an absurd gout of hallelucinationatory crazy. Absolutely one of my favorite novels of all time (nearly stripped McCarthy's Blood Meridian of its bloody title). Reads like Steinbeck wrote a play based on a David Lynch film about a nightmare child of Fellini and Faulkner that is now worshiped as scripture by pimps, prostitutes, grifters, fishmongers and of course fishermen.
At times Suttree hits me like a complicated musical chorus, a surreal painting, and a ballet of misfits and grotesques, all chopped up and swirling in a dirty river's refuse. I won't look at a summer watermelon with the same degree of innocence again.
First of all, I'm intimidated to even review a Cormac McCarthy book. That being said, if you've read other McCarthy novels, you pretty much know what to expect. The writing is....awe inspiring. I listened to the first chapter 4 times before I even continued.
I was really feeling a strong Faulkner vibe, from the beautiful prose to the surreal gothic Old-South setting. As when reading Faulkner, I sometimes had to snap myself back to the story-line after realizing that I was drifting lazily along the surface of the lovely descriptive passages.
So, if you love and appreciate good literature, get this novel. If you love it, but don't like the idea of rolling in the deep for 20 hours, get The Road instead. Personally, I savored all 20 hours, and the story was enjoyable as well. Mostly pretty dark and intense, but a few hilarious moments and characters that had me laughing out loud. I highly recommend for those who are looking for a big ribeye steak of a book.
Say something about yourself!
I picture McCarthy, pen in hand like a sorcerer's wand, masterfully hurling words, falling precisely into magic. Reading McCarthy is like Dorothy opening the door of her impacted little shades of gray house onto the colorful world beyond the rainbow; his genius leaves me speechless, (McCarthy is the author I would most like to meet--and I would be speechless). It does have the Faulkner vibe, as well as Steinbeck, James Joyce, Wolfe; I'm reading O'Connor now and feel a connection there also--but in my mind, McCarthy is peerless.
Suttree is the most distant from McCarthy's other novels. You read or listen and the story moves around you, revealed through the characters, the conversations, the day to day; it is macabre, distorted, dark, and humorous and warm--richer as it goes. Minds better than mine would have to explain the story--I still get a different view each time I take this heady trip. Suttree, Bellow's Henderson the Rain King, and Gardner's Nickel Mountain are books I return to, *palette cleansers*, because I read some things that leave a film around this already mired little brain, but this was my first audio experience of Suttree. Listening, his words ...yeggs, midnight melonmounters, trestle trains that go by, go by, go by, became poetry--I think this may be may favorite way to experience this book. Like a warped Twainian river ride, river rats and all, with Hieronymus Bosch at the oars.
Yes. Because the combination of Richard Poe and Cormac McCarthy is a perfect combination. I've already listened to Blood Meridian several times and I'm sure this book will require several listens. The simplest observations of the surroundings in this book are poetic and strangely familiar.
Harrogate. A character I will never forget and who reminds me to never underestimate anyone.
Too many to list
"This movie will suck, because it's impossible to recreate the feel of the book"
Just get it already...
Very near the top. I've long been a Cormac McCarthy fan, and this was a challenging book, but well worth the effort and trips to the dictionary. Richard Poe does so much to bring the characters to life, each with a unique and wonderfully authentic Southern accent.
Gene Harrogate because I also love watermelons. You have to read the book to understand.
Too many to choose from--t's a very episodic book--full of interesting, quirky scenes.
Suttree. He would be a fascinating conversationalist, I'd love to find out what the problem he had with his father was, and he could probably use a good meal.
If you are willing to give it the attention you need to, this book will repay your efforts in ways you can't begin to imagine. The world of 1950s Knoxville comes to life and the characters flourish with the voice acting of Richard Poe in ways I didn't think possible. Southern accents are easy to get wrong, often becoming cartoonish or all sounding alike. Poe was able to infuse all of the characters with a life and voice of their own. Brilliant.
the book was disappointing because i expected more from McCarthy. It is most excellent writing, and the character is three-dimensional. He was, nevertheless, hard to like and to feel involved with.
Time will show me if he sticks in my head like the characters of "all the pretty horses" and many of the other books he has written, in which case i would have to change my opinion of this book. The visual pictures produced by the story may be unforgettable; they are already jumping up at me.
i am listening to Endurance.
I would need to like the characters (they are not people you would like to meet) The narrator would need to lift from the boring monotone delivery.
He would need to make the characters more approachable and he could have written a story with less depressing post apocalyptic view of the world where they live. The writing is so depressing and dark that it is disturbing. This is a genre that I do not recommend.
Someone with a more expressive voice. His monotone delivery tended to put me to sleep.
The vocabulary was certainly extensive but, I felt at times that Mr McCarthy was using obscure words for no other reason than to show off his extensive vocabulary.
This is my first McCarthy book. The genre is not for me or the faint hearted. I only made it to chapter 7 before I decided to stop listening. The dark, depressing post apocalyptic world in which the equally unlikeable characters live, coupled with the equally dark narration (possibly intentional) made this my worst Audible experience thus far.
I was not aware of the work of Cormac MaCarthy before acquiring this audio book, but now know he is an established figure in the literary world with works used for television and movies. Hie descriptions of every minute detail are quite evocative and I would not hesitate to recommend him to my friends [many of whom were amazed I had not heard of him before]
Suttree...he is the central character and a study in a disaffected man on the fringes of society with a moral compass, albeit a semi-hidden and rudimentary one who affects all the other characters, but only negligibly.
Harrogate --he befriends him, possibly because this man really needs someone to be his friend, loose cannon that he is.
The feel of the story to me evokes Camus and Pinter.
As a fan of McCarthy's other work I was looking forward to Suttree. Suttree is an unusual book as much of the content (every second or third sentence!) is comprised of beautiful descriptors, poetic metaphor and simile, most of which is irrelevant to the "story". Which takes me to the big problem with Suttree as a novel. There is no story to tell, no plot. Just a guy wondering through his alcohol-addled version of life. Not much happens. Yes, we do gain an appreciation for the particular subculture that Suttree finds himself within, and for that you can appreciate McCarthy's efforts. The narrative jumps around, reducing any coherent semblance of story that may exist. The ending isn't really an ending but just the point where the author decided to stop writing. I really tried to like Suttree, but this is not anywhere near McCarthy's best work. It comes across as a vehicle for exercising his creating juices, but unfortunately that creativity didn't extend to plot.
Nothing. The reader was excellent. It was the constant detailed imagery which made me uncomfortable.
I am not sure what genre to put this book into. It if full of images of death, filth, ugliness. The protagonist, Suttree was mired in this. There was little humor and little to which the reader (listener) could relate.
Suttree was the only character who had any of his inner traits revealed. Any even this left me confused as to his inner drives and motivations.
It gave a presumably somewhat accurate of what the very poor of Knoxville in the early 1950s lived like. In that sense, it was a learning experience. You really were immersed in the poverty of that city. At times focusing on the ugliness and filth of a city is of value. Most of us go around photographing or "focusing" our attention on the beautiful. McCarthy focused on and described in detail images of ugliness, filth, decay and death. Also, the writing style was at times very poetic. Many times I felt like I was listening to the Walt Whitman of the ghetto. Lots of invented words and phrases which sounded like some kind of modern poetry.
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