I Gave It 100 Pages . . .

. . . and gave up. It’s very rare that I don’t finish a book that I start but I could not read Cormac McCarthy’s Sutree any longer.

Amazon.com touted the book under “customers who viewed this also viewed . . .” when I was exploring another title. I recognized the author’s name and it got good reviews. I was also intrigued because the setting of the book, published in 1979, takes place near my home.

To begin with, the only punctuation marks in the book are the ones at the ends of sentences. It’s very difficult to determine when people start and stop talking with no quotation marks. The dialect of the characters is also hard to decipher.

Because the main character, Suttree, is pretty interesting, and I enjoyed reading about locations that were familiar, I actually read more than I intended. However, there seems to be no point to his rambling and ambling throughout (at least the beginning of) the book.

The language in the book is often foul and disgustingly descriptive: He lifted his swollen eyes to the desolation in which he knelt, the ironcolored nettles and sedge in the reeking fields like mock weeds made from wire, a raw landscape where half familiar shapes reared from the slagheaps of trash. 

 I pride myself on having an extensive vocabulary and being “well-read,” but there were many words in Suttree that I had never encountered before.  It made reading even more challenging.  In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it and gave up.


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