McCarthy, Cormac: Suttree
Suttree is a compelling, semi-autobiographical novel by Cormac McCarthy, which has as its protagonist Cornelius Suttree, living alone and in exile in a disintegrating houseboat on the wrong side of the Tennessee River close by Knoxville. He stays at the edge of an outcast community inhabited by eccentrics, criminals and the poverty-stricken. Rising above the physical and human squalor around him, his detachment and wry humour enable him to survive dereliction and destitution with dignity.The book comes at us like a horrifying flood. The language licks, batters, wounds - a poetic, troubled rush of debris . . . Cormac McCarthy has little mercy to spare, for his characters or himself. His text is broken, beautiful and ugly in spots . . . Suttree is like a good, long scream in the ear.