"THE MOST PECULIAR BOOK I EVER WROTE": PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY OF CADILLAC JACK, INSCRIBED BY LARRY MCMURTRY TO ENVIRONMENTALIST AND AUTHOR EDWARD ABBEY, AND ADDITIONALLY SIGNED TWICE BY ABBEY
MCMURTRY, Larry. Cadillac Jack. New York: Simon and Schuster, (1982). Octavo, original half red cloth, original dust jacket. $8800.
First trade edition, presentation copy, of "the best novel Larry McMurtry ever wrote," inscribed by McMurtry to acclaimed naturalist and author Edward Abbey, whom he once called "the Thoreau of the American West": "For the Abbeys—The most peculiar Book I ever wrote, I Think. LM," additionally signed by Abbey on the bottom edge as was his custom with books in his personal library and also inscribed by Abbey on the front flap of the dust jacket: "Abbey—>Peacock—>Spaulding."
McMurtry's eighth novel, a rollicking, satirical look at life in Washington, DC, "proves his knack for storytelling… In learning to accept himself as a perpetual wanderer, Jack becomes the most satisfying male character McMurtry had yet created, almost a match for his strong female characters" (Jane Nelson). Even as late as 2000—some 15 years after the publication of McMurtry's arguably most famous book Lonesome Dove—the Texas Observer proclaimed Cadillac Jack "the best novel Larry McMurtry ever wrote." Published the same year as the signed limited edition of 250 copies. This copy is inscribed by McMurtry to environmentalist, anarchist, and author Edward Abbey, who McMurtry once called "the Thoreau of the American West." Abbey began his career as an MP in Italy. He then used the G.I. Bill to complete his education (including a master's degree in philosophy) at the University of New Mexico. Abbey became a park ranger in Utah and found the inspiration to write several important works, including the classic nature narrative Desert Solitaire. This copy also bears Abbey's signature in print letters along the bottom (as usual in his own books) and a curious inscription on the front flap that reads: "Abbey—>Peacock—>Spaulding." Edward Abbey was close friends with Doug Peacock, a Vietnam veteran, author, and outdoorsman who became Abbey's model for George Washington Hayduke in The Monkey Wrench Gang. Abbey and Peacock had a tumultuous friendship that nevertheless endured. Along with another of Abbey's friends, Peacock was entrusted with performing Abbey's illegal desert burial. Peacock has spent much of his life after Abbey's death writing about Abbey and the contours of their friendship. The mention of "Spaulding" in Abbey's inscription may refer to Spaulding Mountain in Maine.
A very nearly fine inscribed copy with fascinating provenance.