The Strange Power of Suttree


There’s this deeply cool new magazine about literature and rock music called Radio Silence, which we reviewed back in June, and they recently posted an essay titled “The Bottom” that will just about cave your head in.

In it, Jim White writes about how a Cormac McCarthy novel saved him from a surreally devastating heartbreak—and plunked him into an equally surreal situation in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The tenor of Walter’s tales is so eerily reminiscent of Suttree’s general tone that I can’t help but wave the novel in his direction, asking if he’s ever read it. Walter beckons me over, takes the book with shaking, liver spotted claws, studies the cover through his bifocals with some puzzlement, then replies, “Suttree? Well, look at that. I’ll be. Did Suttree write a book?”

Read it!

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →