The Able McLaughlins
New York: HARPER, 1923. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition (“H–X” on copyright). Her first novel. Near fine in a 1st state dustjacket with the correct text and the reorder coupon intact, small chips to spine tips and corners, and partial splits along the folds but still integral. A Pulitzer Prize winning novel, in a dustjacket that is riskier than it seems, because it is one of those brown paper jackets that wants to dry out and fragment along its folds. This one is as nice as, and priced less than, any of the overhyped others for sale in comparable condition, and the ones that are priced less than ours are not as nice, or in the wrong jacket. Or both. Near fine / very good. Item #848
105 years after Jane Austen’s last novel and Mary Shelley’s first novel demonstrated that women authors were every bit the equal of men, Margaret Wilson enjoyed the advantage of being their legatee. The Able McLaughlins is not historical romance, because it is only set 58 years in its past and it lacks historical luminaries, but it has some of the feeling. Its protagonist is Wully McLaughlin, but its essence is fixed on the trials of Christie McNair in a patriarchal Midwest, and her discovery that perseverance is not the long race, but many short races one after another, not so much the ability to persist, but the vitality to start over, an understanding of which paths to walk, and which paths to abandon, a quiet voice that says, I will try again tomorrow. My discovery is that daily choices are easier, often, in fact, self–evident, once each of us decides whether we will devote our life to conjugating the verb “to have” or devote it to conjugating the verb “to be.”.