29 April, 2015

Suttree

BY Cormac McCarthy
Book Information1/1/0/US/RH/1970/c.less than 5,000 sold  •  220x152x41  •  681

The purchase of this very fine copy of Suttree concluded for now, my Cormac McCarthy collection program. The program still lacks a fine copy of "Outer Dark" but is pretty complete as it is. Suttree, first published in 1979, was allegedly written over 30 years, which makes it the earliest piece of published work that McCarthy worked on. Variously compared to Ulysses and Huckleberry Finn, this book, together with Blood Meridian and All The Pretty Horses, are considered McCarthy's representative work, and together with "The Orchard Keeper", "Outer Dark", and "Child of God", are considered McCarthy's early Appalachian novels.

McCarthy is parsimonious on punctuation and the opening paragraph from Suttree illustrates it:
"Dear friend now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of the watertrucks and now when the drunk and the homeless have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys or abandoned lots and cats go forth highshouldered and lean in the grim perimeters about, now in these sootblacked brick or cobbled corridors where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no soul shall walk save you."
This 1-sentence paragraph - all of 80 words, one comma and five "and" - takes some getting used to.


Suttree was published before Blood Meridian, and more importantly, before All the Pretty Horses, and that means it sold poorly just as Blood Meridian did and remainder copies abound. This makes non-remaindered Suttree very collectable. The first edition points here is referenced from the First Edition Points website, and the pictures are from my copy.
  • Published by Random House in 1979.
  • 471 pages long, and the original retail price was $12.95.
  • First Edition is stated below Random House number line "24689753".
  • Board are white with black cloth spine. Author's initials on front of boards in gold. Spine lettering is also gold.
  • Dust jacket has photo of author on the back with photo credit on the bottom left, and ISBN (bookporn added: 394-48213-1) on the bottom right. No reviews on dust jacket.
  • Bookporn added point: always check for remainder mark on either the top or bottom edge of the book. Remainder mark is a flaw that will devalue the first edition.
  • The novel starts on an unnumbered page, which is page 3.















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