Suttree – Review

I’m not good at catching the humor so many critics laud this book for having. This isn’t to say the novel isn’t funny -it is- or that it isn’t good -it is- but that maybe my personal experience robs the novel of some of the humor and tilts it more towards the side of sadness that Stanley Booth saw within it.

I don’t doubt that much of the humor people see in it stems from the outlandishly country, poor, uneducated and simple people who populate the novel as the people Suttree calls friends and acquaintances. Are they outlandish? Yes. Are they humorous? To a degree. But these are also people that, for me, had an air of genuineness.

Which may be more of a reflection of my own rural upbringing than anything else.  Stories of people doing crazy things, being around people doing ill-advised things, people living relatively modest and simple lives are things I’m accostomed to. They are familiar. And from how Suttree has been described as semi-autobiographical, I have a feeling that McCarthy may share similar feelings.

So while I can smile at the misadventures, I don’t see them as starkly comedic that seems to be implied by the majority of reviews that I have read. This is not Cormac McCarthy doing Catch-22 or Breakfast of Champions. This is Cormac McCarthy stepping a bit outside of his norm and excelling with it.

The Faulkner comparisons are apt. Suttree reads like a Faulkner novel, though more entertainingly. Time and voice shifts throughout, characters drift to and from the action, as you read the novel nearly has the feeling of a kaleidoscope. Though it’s not the rough edged jumble of a William S. Burroughs novel, this kaleidoscope does seem to have the hand of a higher power at work, gently nudging it along to places it was destined to go at times it was destined to be there.

Suttree at Amazon

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One Response to “Suttree – Review”

  1. Keri Hinson Says:

    Hehe I am literally the only reply to your great article!

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