Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Wastrel
by Frederic Wakeman

(Panther, 1962 / originally published 1952)

Well the cover art is hardly likely to win any prizes, and the novel itself sounds deathly dull, but there’s a certain something about this one I’m really fond of – something that had me laughing in exultation and almost punching the air as soon as I pulled it off the shelf.

What immediately sold it to me I think is the phrase “drunkenly, he mocked life..” – an expression which I’d like to imagine finding a place in any obituaries that follow my own passing.

The back cover copy expands on this theme to pleasing effect, for the headline and first sentence at least. After that, it starts to sound pretty crappy, but the idea of this “rich, drunken boaster” taunting wife and life alike with his depraved lethargy lives on happily in my mind when I return ‘The Wastrel’ to its natural home, gathering dust on the bottom shelf.

1 comment:

DJ Capybara said...

"posses the devilish power of keeping readers awake." Wow, that's high praise. We gotta put that on the cover!