Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paperback 802: The Man With a Certain Talent / Pierre Sichel (Signet T1977)

Paperback 802: Signet T1977 (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: The Man With a Certain Talent
Author: Pierre Sichel
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:

  • Perhaps the giantest, most ill-defined floating head in my collection.
  • Cover design is truly poor. The fonts are not making me feel the emotions I'm supposed to be feeling, and nothing about wispy blue smoke-face there is jibing with "shock-powered" (whatever that means) and "joy-ride." Maybe "hell," but only in the sense that the Head looks like he has returned therefrom, perhaps as a warning. "Rural poet," however, I buy.
  • Title is also bad / nondescript. Ditto sleepy New England village down there.
  • The lady is sad that they have relegated her to such a tiny piece of cover real estate. "I had my hair done and wore my nice gloves and everything … [sob] …"


Best things about this back cover: 
  • Ugh, text.
  • Please, I beg you, do not use "the sodden tragedy of his life" in my obit. Thanks.
  • "Pierre Sichel bares the forces that skyrocket…" Nice metaphoring!
  • Williams College!? Screw those guys. [Rejected in 1987 and Never Forgetting!]
  • The dumbest editorial decision By Far where this book is concerned was changing the title from the original, awesome, "The Sapbucket Genius." That title has layers. *This* title just lies there, vaguely, pointlessly, so devoid of specific meaning that, like the Giant Head (ironically), it's barely there. I mean, he clearly has at least two talents. Come on, man.

Page 123~

Here was the ideal promising, provocative, compromising situation and, while she knew I wouldn't try a Flodge, I knew she at least expected me to make the most of it. Not behave like a stick.
You have no idea how disappointed I was to learn that "Flodge" was just another character in the book. I wanted it to be the Greatest Idiom Ever (meaning what, I don't know).


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John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

As a title, "The Man with a Certain Talent" is as vaguely nondescript and uninformative as the kids today (I blame Will Smith for this one) saying, "I can see you feeling some kind of way about this." WHAT kind of way, for god's sake! And what talent does the protagonist have? No help at all.

Jean said...

Somebody had better invent a cocktail called Flodge right away!