By Cormac McCarthy
Why this book?
Though my own work will never come close to equaling its wonder, this is the novel that taught me the most about the actual craft of writing. Before he redefined the western, Cormac McCarthy was a master of Southern Gothic storytelling, and Suttree was his crowning achievement. Perhaps only Blood Meridian does more in the McCarthy canon as far as elevated imagery, but Suttree accomplishes its beauty without the benefit of the sprawling southwestern landscape. Rather, McCarthy’s Knoxville becomes like Joyce’s Dublin, and he paints it in such vivid dereliction, there can be no mistaking Suttree is the novel by which all other southern works ought to compare themselves. Bonus points for somehow making watermelon fornication into a literary act.
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