Cormac McCarthy’s Unusual Bequest to His Son

America’s ‘greatest novelist’ has passed away, leaving a unique legacy

Pathless Pilgrim


Photo by Andra C Taylor Jr on Unsplash

Stephen King called him “maybe the greatest American novelist of my time”. Yet less than one month after the passing of another literary great, Martin Amis, Cormac McCarthy has died.

Despite his huge success and the popularity of award-winning novels such as No Country for Old Men and The Road, which were both made into major films, Cormac McCarthy was famously averse to self-promotion, preferring to keep a low profile when he could.

Though many people thought of McCarthy as somewhat of a recluse, he was passionate about the outdoors, and loved climbing mountains and hiking in the wilderness.

Whenever he signed books, he would be sure to personalise them, making them a custom treasure for the recipient and limiting the chances they would be treated as a mere money-making commodity to be sold to the highest bidder.

However, McCarthy made one exception to this. He signed 250 copies of The Road with his name only and gave them to his son, John. It was McCarthy’s relationship with John that was the inspiration for The Road, so the novel was very close to both their hearts.

It was also, of course, one of Cormac McCarthy’s most highly acclaimed novels and winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. McCarthy knew that after his death, these non-personalised, signed copies of The Road would become hugely valuable.

Now that the literary giant has passed away, how long will it be before the wealthy literati start clamouring for one of these gems, desperate for their own piece of the great man’s legacy? And just how much will they be prepared to pay?

We’ll have to wait and see, but I think it is safe to say that John Francis McCarthy’s personal fortune from these books alone is worth multiple millions of dollars. Just how many millions, only time will tell.



Pathless Pilgrim

Many things to many people... A complete enigma to myself.