Craig Olson Books Newsletter

The Southwest

For me, it's like going to the moon.

Growing up on a green, fertile dairy farm in Wisconsin I knew nothing of the Southwest except what I saw on television and in the movies.  Most of it couldn't be farther from the truth. 

I've coming to the Southwest for over 20 years and have just spent the past 10 days in Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos mixing business with pleasure.  It can be harsh country -- but I love it.  Ask me to drive six hours in New England and I will complain; ask me to drive six hours across the desert and I want to know why you're not in the car and ready to go. 

For me, Cormac McCarthy is on of the few writers who really captures my feeling about the area in his writing. He is not prolific.  His first two novels in sixteen years, Stella Maris and The Passenger, were published late last year.  He is unpredictable.  Who publishes two novels back-to-back?  I read both novels and then Blood Meridian shortly before I left for Tucson.  It was tough, it was harrowing, it was stark; for me, Blood Meridian epitomizes the west without the Hollywood sheen.  Hours on the road these past 10 days through dust storms, mesas, and mountains in the distance really drove it home for me.

As a bit of a fanboy, you can imagine I was on high alert as I spent the day in McCarthy's hometown of Santa Fe.  No McCarthy, but I did have a wonderful breakfast at La Fonda on the Plaza.

Like the west, McCarthy is elusive.  He hardly ever signs books. When he does, it is usually only for individuals, not bookstores.  Authentic, signed copies of anything are scarce and pricey -- a first edition of Blood Meridian (1985) will set you back $20,000. Lucky for me, he liked the old-school bookseller who sold me my copy of The Stonemason.  She was as tough and unpredictable as McCarthy and the Southwest. 

As always, to order or view additional photographs click on the image below.

I fly home Saturday, which explains this email being a day early -- I'm off for some more desert time...



McCarthy, Cormac.
The Stonemason: A Play in Five Acts.
Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press, 1994.
Hardcover. First Edition. First Printing. 133 pp. 8vo. Clean, crisp copy with dust jacket in mylar cover.

Signed by the author on the title page.McCarthy signs very few books, so finding any signed copy is getting harder and harder.
Price: $1,250.00  
Craig Olson Books
99 Main Street | Belfast, Maine 04915 | USA | 207.338.2006| [email protected]