The Suttree Stagger

The cover review in today’s New York Times Book Review is Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men,” a novel I started this afternoon. (I’m 150 pages in, and so far it’s just a caper; it’s got none of the terrible, sad majesty and phenomenal imagery of “Blood Meridian” and “Suttree.” We’ll see.) In the Book Review’s “Up Front,” there’s a note about the Knoxville, Tenn., arthouse – Yeehaw Industries – that produced the issue’s cover art. The editors quote Yeehaw’s Kevin Bradley and Julie Belcher:

“‘Cormac McCarthy is revered in Knoxville, at least for the people who take reading seriously,” Bradley said in a telephone interview. Belcher added: 'We always tell people who move here to read his books, particularly 'Suttree.’ A lot of things in that book take place near where we have our office.’ For Knoxville’s literary crowd, Bradley and Belcher point out, one of the regular big events is the almost-annual 'Suttree Stagger.’ Revelers visit sites mentioned in McCarthy’s novel, and take part in readings, many of them in bars. As the Knoxville journalist Jack Neely put it recently, the 'Suttree Stagger’ isn’t your typical and tame book-history stroll – it’s a “seven-hour literary pub crawl.’”

Because Cormac’s the cover review, he’s also the “featured author” at the Times’s web site. As for the review, written by Walter Kirn, I’ll get to it after I’ve read the book and started my own review.