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Review : Suttree By Corman McCarthy

Corman McCarthy is like an evil hurricane storm in the middle of one of those North American moors that we see in the movies; The ones that make cows fly, you know. Because, if we are careless, McCarthy takes it all without regard. Including our conscience. Our ethics or our morals or what you have under your skin that makes you different from the rat. McCarthy is pure bewilderment and, in the end, with him it is very clear that good and evil are much closer than we think, that survival is the only thing that really matters or that life has many faces, as many as people in reality, although it may always be the same.

However, and maybe for that very reason too, in the novels of this strange and mysterious man, just when everything is spinning in the diabolical fan, when it seems that everything will blow up and that the end is approaching, right there it appears that incredible sense of pleasure that a great read always provides. And also gratitude, of course, and reflection and two-way communication. The questions appear and, somehow, the change occurs. Or a certain displacement to any other site. That is what meeting Corman McCarthy always offers me and that is also Suttree, the novel I want to talk to you about today.

Suttree is, for me, one of McCarthy’s best works, despite not being one of the best known. A novel of those that will spank you throughout its five hundred and odd pages (yes, watch out for this: Suttree is not suitable for holidays in Benicassim. Suttree is heavy, ok? And I’m not saying it just thinking about the bag of the Beach).

But what or who is Suttree?

Basically, Suttree is the strange last name of the protagonist of the novel. Cornelius Suttree, to be more exact. A middle-aged man (maybe a little older) who leaves his house and his wife and then becomes a fisherman (or at least becomes a fishing boat, because I think that Suttree is really nothing, except a poor man with very few certainties ). But in reality, Suttree is not just a man on the edge of the abyss, he is also other men (and women) already within him (of the hole, I say). Poor of solemnity, vagabonds, prostitutes and the like. But Suttree is also a river. The river of life and death. And Suttree is to be broke. In the last, let’s go. Fucking fucked up. Suttree is to survive and continue to feel like a human being despite everything.

The reading of this novel is marked, as I say, by a river. An element that seems metaphorically essential to enjoy the meaning of the book (or one that can be). The river is constantly navigated up and down, and that is the novel too, a continuous stream of the miseries of life and death of certain human beings, a river that flows and shows us by turning the page the harshness of loneliness extreme of man, of poverty and of the days that pass and pass again without further ado. Suttree is the (anti?) Epic of man going up the river of life. The fisherman in search of fantastic and ghostly catfish, of his own fortune that seems to wait a little further on or just on the other shore. Suttree is the man-novel-riverthat travels towards absolute destruction, towards disappearance into the abyss and oblivion. But in Suttree you sail. You navigate and you live and you fall. In Suttree he falls hopelessly and alone, left to his own devices until the river reaches the sea, which is death itself.

McCarthy’s prose is always gigantic and overwhelming, wildly dark, and apocalyptic too, on many occasions. His literature has, without any doubt, a very high level, and is full of very long syntactic constructions, accurate and disconcerting dialogues and descriptions full of fabulous adjectives (sometimes so far-fetched that they seem to be invented by him) and in which nothing is ever left over ( miracle!). Thanks to the intensity of their stories and their particular rhythm, to their sinister and blurred characters, you will be hopelessly hypnotized by that unique way of telling, in addition to what we are told, and then you will have a hard time, even if that means precisely otherwise.

Oh, and call me crazy if you like, but these and other clues make me think that McCarthy is William Faulkner reincarnated (rather, resurrected). Shhhhhh… I know it’s crazy, but keep the secret for me, okay ?!

Anyway, bullshit aside, if you trust what I tell you on this blog once, I’m sure that Suttree will be one of the best readings you will have in this damn year at the end of the decade, the Chinese year of the dog. The fucking year of death. But also the year of life, just like Suttree.


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Hi, my name's Sarah Star and welcome to my book review blog.

I come from Oklahoma and live there with my family.

By profession, I studied library and information science.

I am currently writing a novel and focusing on my new book review blog.

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