10 September, 2015

Child of God

BY Cormac McCarthy
Book Information1/1/0/US/RH/1973/?  •  215x150x25  •  472 

Along with "The Orchard Keeper", I also acquired a fine first edition of Cormac McCarthy's third book, "Child of God", published in 1973 by Random House. Set in the Appalachian Tennessee, the story is disturbingly lurid in its depiction of Lester Ballard and his killing of amorous young couples before dragging the female corpses to his shack for necrophilia pleasure. Unlike the erudite and calculated Judge in "Blood Meridian", Lester is a simpleton whose proclivity for blood was never fully explained. Maybe that's the whole point: Lester's gruesome and diabolical acts are driven by an innate predisposition, a natural if unfortunate hardwiring that does not lend itself to explanation. If we accept this determinism-based interpretation over one premised on free will, then Lester, "much like yourself perhaps", and is still a child of god. 

First edition copies of this book suffer from a few common flaws. The spine of the dust jacket is prone to sunning and most of the dust jackets are price clipped. There is also the remainder mark issue common in McCarthy's pre-"All the Pretty Horses" work. I do not have any information about the print size for this first edition, but an estimate of 1,000-1,500 copies seems reasonable.

This is the first edition first printing with the original dust jacket that is unclipped, reflecting the correct price of $5.95 and does not have the dreadful remainder mark. The book is bound in red board with blue-black clothed board and gilt lettering at spine, and has no topstain. The copyright page should state "First Edition".

This book is quite rare and a VG copy with price-clipped dust jacket can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks from $700 onwards. The same copy with a dust jacket that is not price-clipped will cost upwards of $1,200. This is a NF copy with a NF dust jacket that suffers only the slightest wear at the spine extremities and, unlike most copies, has a very bright spine. The book is NF and suffers only from a minor dent on the front board.  

















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