Forlorn River


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GREY, Zane. Forlorn River. A Romance. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1927. Octavo, original burgundy cloth, original dust jacket.

First book edition, presentation copy, of this Western romance set in Northern California, the basis for the film adaptations starring Jack Holt and Buster Crabbe, inscribed to Zane Grey's novelist son, with whom he had a fraught relationship: "To Loren from Dad. Zane Grey."

Centering on the exploits of horse-catchers and cattle-rustlers, Forlorn River is, at heart, a Western romance with a plot that manages to interweave getting the girl and getting the horse. It was followed by a sequel, the much-loved Nevada, often regarded as Grey's best book. Forlorn River proved exceptionally popular in its own right: it was the basis for two film adaptations, a 1926 movie starring Jack Holt and a 1937 movie starring Buster Crabbe. It also inspired a 1952 comic book by Dell. First edition, with Harper code "H-B" (Zane Grey Check List, 14). Originally serialized in 1926 in Ladies Home Journal. This copy of Forlorn River is inscribed to Zane Grey's son, Loren (and also bears his owner signature). Grey's son spent a lifetime struggling with his feelings toward his father. Zane Grey was enviable. Today, more than 130 million copies of his books are in print. He is credited with helping to launch Paramount through adaptations of his stories—indeed, many of his books made the jump to the big screen. And, to add insult to injury, Grey was a talented sportsman, holding 11 world records as a deep-sea fisherman and creating new types of tackle to catch heavy fish, some of which remain in use today. For his family, ignored amidst Grey's public acclaim and forgotten as he pursued endless affairs, it all proved too much to forgive. "Zane Grey's adventuring and art smothered the family… 'He wasn't much of a father,' Grey said. 'I know he loved me by what he wrote about me. But his two main passions were writing and fishing, and everything else was secondary'… 'He was rich and famous and had beautiful women, and I felt like I didn't have anything,' said Grey, 70. 'I hated him for it'" (Los Angeles Times). Interestingly, at the end of his life, Loren Grey headed Zane Grey, Inc., controlling the rights to Grey's works; preparing and rewriting "the poorer parts" of older unpublished works for publication; and even ghostwriting new works based on his father's characters (People). His father, who wanted him to write fishing books to limit the competition, would likely have had mixed feelings over his son's endeavors.

Book fine, dust jacket near-fine with light wear and toning to extremities. A handsome inscribed presentation copy with a fascinating familial association.

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