The Just and The Unjust James Gould Cozzens
The dust jacket is a bit ratty and torn, but the book itself is in excellent shape.
This novels relates changes in the life of Abner Coates, the Assistant District Attorney in the small town of Childerstown, during one week in May 1939, as the Commonwealth (never named) tries two men for first-degree murder. While the trial occupies much of the novel, it does not overshadow it. Cozzens so adroitly relates the lives of a number of characters that more than just one week seems to elapse. The intricacies of the criminal trial, as well as the utter ordinariness of the trial, are wonderfully, and at times movingly, done. The novel succeeds as a narrative not only of a murder trial, but also as an (interestingly unromantic) love story, and as a picture of what life in a small town in the eastern U.S. was like during the first half of the twentieth century. Cozzens is very, very adept at depicting people at their jobs and knows how to show dramatically the way work expresses character. After Paul Horgan, James Gould Cozzens is perhaps the most underrated and overlooked American novelist of the 20th century. He is definitely worth reading, and this novel is a good place to start.
Publisher: New York : Harcourt, Brace And Company; 1st Edition edition (1942)
Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.5 x 3.3 cm
Shipping Weight: 522 g