New York: Random House, 1985. First Edition. Original red cloth-backed red boards, spine lettered in gilt. A Near Fine copy of the book with light foxing to the closed page block and three leaves pasted to the rear paste-down (a publisher's flaw and therefore one of the free copies given to the author). With the brightly colored dust jacket in Very Good + condition; a short 10 mm closed tear to top of front joint with associated bend. Presentation inscription on the half title to environmental writer and prolific Western author Edward Abbey: “For Ed, With all best wishes, Your friend Cormac.” Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Abbey's widow.
McCarthy rarely inscribed copies of his books, and his personal association to Abbey makes this rare book even more exceptional. Prior to Blood Meridian, McCarthy had modest success subsidizing his writing with grants but had yet to sell more than 5,000 of any single title. Abbey, meanwhile, was known as one of the most prolific American writers, using his books as a passionate call to readers to protect the natural resources and open lands of the West. In a letter from McCarthy to Abbey, McCarthy describes how he got “boxed out” while hiking Big Bend near Moab, and after retracing his steps and locating his car, he “drank some water and ate something and opened the book [he] was reading – Desert Solitaire – and read the next chapter.” The next chapter is the one where Ed also gets boxed out hiking Big Bend near Moab, and McCarthy writes in a letter that if he had read the chapter a day sooner, he would have been spared the trouble. The two maintained a close correspondence for many years, well documented by the University of Arizona. It is therefore poignant that McCarthy inscribed Blood Meridian – noted as his masterful meditation on brutality, death, and the American West – to Abbey.
Blood Meridian was a turning point in McCarthy’s career, as his first Western novel, and his first major literary success. Harold Bloom referred to Blood Meridian as "the greatest single book since Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying” and it appears on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest English novels from 1923-2005. An attractive copy made the more interesting by connecting two of the major literary figures of the Southwest. Near Fine in Very Good + dust jacket. (Item #2132)