Suttree by Cormac McCarthy (1979)

Suttree

Originally published in 1979.

Pale manchild were there last agonies? Were you in terror, did you know? Could you feel the claw that claimed you? And who is this fool kneeling over your bones, choked with bitterness? And what could a child know of the darkness of God’s plan? Or how flesh is so frail it is hardly more than a dream.

Probably the most beautifully written prose about a bum, ever. Not an easy read, but McCarthy’s ability to invent endless wilderness of words and intricate sentences in every page is just beyond uncanny. You know him as a great writer, but here you will find him as magical.

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