Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sight Unseen: Rien n'est Simple by Jean-Jacques Sempé

Should one by a book containing a souvenir drawing one hasn't seen? For my Sight Unseen series, I locate some object, usually a signed book, that intrigues me but that lacks a photograph in the listing, often on AbeBooks. I take my chances, shell out the money blindly, and wait to see whether I am pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised. In today's case study the title of Jean-Jacques Sempé's book Rien n'est SimpleNothing is Simple—should have clued me in. The listing is in French but the book, priced at $47.67 plus shipping, boasts an original Sempé drawing. For me, that's a no-brainer.
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved June 29, 2018
https://www.abebooks.com/Rien-nest-simple-SEMPE-Jean-Jacques/22902922175/bd?cm_ven=nl&cm_cat=trg&cm_pla=want_CM&cm_ite=viewbook



The arrival of the volume confirms that it does indeed have an original drawing and it is indeed by Sempé. The listing also mentioned a tenth anniversary dedication in German, and that is there as well in red and black ink on the facing page. What was not mentioned is that the author of this dedication took the red pen and added a heart to Sempé's delightful drawing. Truthfully, it's not the worst defilement of a drawing I've seen. Indeed, nothing is simple, but you don't need me to tell you that no one can improve on Sempé's work.





Note:  Despite everything, I am happy to keep this book.


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