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.
Suttree marks McCarthy's closest approach to autobiography and is probably the funniest and most unbearably sad of his books.
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.
Jerome Charyn, New York Times