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McCarthy, Mary. CANNIBALS AND MISSIONARIES. New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1979. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 369 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's sixth and final novel. One of Mary McCarthy's finest achievements. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Mary McCarthy's "Cannibals And Missionaries". Prescient. It is a study of human interaction and the relationships that result from a high-stress environment, in this case, a major hijacking. In other words, it is the inescapable precursor to Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto", not acknowledged as such by the latter writer or her legion of followers. It achieves the remarkable by keeping the reader unbalanced. As to be expected of Mary McCarthy, there are no clear-cut villains or heroes, only human beings trapped together. It is as easy to hate the hostages as it is to hate the captors. In the end, all one feels is a sense of pity for all involved. Since she was not a mystery or thriller writer, it is quite obvious that the suspense elements of the novel as well as its whole conception is about a deeper and larger theme. Mary McCarthy was called (by Norman Podhoretz) as the "Dark Lady of American Letters". As a literary critic, she had few peers. As a scholar of the first rank, she edited Hannah Arendt's unfinished masterpiece, "The Life of the Mind", in a gesture of magnanimous friendship and genuine commitment to the highest ideals of a civilized life. The subject of numerous biographies, she was not a feminist, but clearly lived as one (the experience came before the idea) although she was not encumbered by feminism's ideological dead-ends. An absolute "must-have" title for Mary McCarthy collectors. This title is a late-modern classic. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in fine condition overall: Clean, crisp, and bright. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws, are subsequent printings, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A scarce copy thus. One of the most important and influential American writers of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER MARY MCCARTHY TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0151153876. $20.00

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