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31 Mar 2017 at 2:08 pm #8966
Last weekend Knoxville hosted the most recent edition of the Big Ears music festival once again garnering very favorable press in the Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. However, an ancillary event held at the same time deserved more attention that it received.
That event was “The Dusty Clockless Hours: A Marathon Reading of Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree” which was presented by the Knox County Library, the Knoxville History Project, Big Ears, and the City of Knoxville. The ambitious reading was performed by some 41 volunteer readers at a number of locations around the City beginning at Suttree Landing Park and continuing at other venues including Volunteer Landing, Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, Blount Mansion, etc.
After the event was completed I received a number of email comments from other participants. I selected several to note here without attribution. I trust the authors will not object.
“A lot of fun, more than what one might expect. So glad we all did it, and glad it’s done.”
“That novel is hard to read, but I got into the rhythmic language and let it slide into a kind of incantation. Like Faulkner, McCarthy wrote sentences like poems, with imagery and metric pacing and linguistic complexity all part of the point.”
“It was just wonderful. It reminded me of a lot of things–why I love books, why it’s important to read aloud and to be read to, how lucky I am in to be here, in this town.”
“It was such a joy to hear what each one of you brought to your readings. Some were serious, some were hilarious, some were stoic, some hammed it up. Every one of you brought out things in the text that remind us why Suttree is one of the great pieces of American literature.”
So, if you ever have the chance to participate in such an event, seize the opportunity. It was really a lot of fun. Or maybe just come to Knoxville to listen to the next one.
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