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The Apologist [Paperback]

Jay Rayner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £7.35 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

10 Feb 2005
Marc Bassett has a reputation as a pitiless restaurant critic. When he writes a devastating review of a particular establishment, the chef commits suicide, roasting himself in his own fan-assisted oven, with Basset's review pasted to the door. Suddenly Basset is moved to do something he has never done before: apologize. After a series of virtuoso expressions of regret, word of Bassett's mollifying power spreads, and he is invited to become Chief Apologist for the United Nations. His job is to travel the globe in his own Gulfstream V private jet, apologizing for everything from colonialism to exploitation to slavery. It is a role that brings him fame, wealth and access to a lot of very good chocolate. But in a world overdosing on emotion, does Marc Basset really have the stomach to be the sorriest man in history? Built of delicate layers of heinous crime, forgiveness and outrageous gastronomy, Jay Rayner's glorious new novel is a piquant satire of modern appetite and etiquette.

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The Apologist + The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner + A Greedy Man in a Hungry World: How (Almost) Everything You Thought You Knew About Food Is Wrong
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; New edition edition (10 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843541890
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843541899
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'It made me laugh, it made me cringe. It is, I'm sorry to say, highly original' Alistair McGowan; 'Jay Rayner shows food critics are human after all, even when stuffed with chocolate. An highly entertaining whimsy with no apology needed.' Gordon Ramsay 'A very funny book about apologies - by someone who has a lot to apologize for' Anthony Bourdain"

About the Author

Jay Rayner is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster who is now the Observer's restaurant critic. He is married and lives in London. This is his third novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge chewy read 12 Jun 2004
By GarethP
I had always thought Rayner a good restaurant critic. He's an even better novelist. the Apologist works because it feeds the stomach and the head. The food writing is superb, as you would expect, but there's so much more here: great characters, engaging plot plus the x factor. It's a big entertaining novel which also manages to contain real ideas and in Marc Basset he has come up with a real figure for our times. I read it in one sitting and when I finished the last page I had that feeling of dismay and loss you get when you finish a great book. more please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trite, unlikely and predictable 14 Jun 2005
I felt that after reading the glowing review I had to bring a more realistic focus to this 'summer read'. I have just returned from a sunshine holiday and found this novel perfectly acceptable for this purpose - but not alot more! There are indeed familiar entertaining food references to savour. The action and ending are predictable and so unlikely as to be uninspiring. My partner is now reading this as he is a fan of farce and to this end, this novel is effective. Don't give up the day job, Jay!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliant read. So brilliant I feel guilty it was free. Knew Jay Rayner was a great writer but had no idea he could do fiction so well. Loved the food descriptions and almost loved the appendix listing where the dishes came from as much as the novel. Highly recommended even when it's not free. I'd have gladly paid for it!!
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Marc Basset is a savage restaurant critic. In the age of the celebrity chef there's a good trade in celebrity critics and Basset is one such critic. This is the man who described one meal as likely to "taste better coming back up than it did going down" and the staff of a fish restaurant where everyone wore waders and cagoules as "dressed for an exceptionally safe sex party". After dipping his pen (or keyboard) in a touch more vitriol than normal, he cranks out a excoriating review of a top restaurant only to find that the restaurateur has taken his criticism rather more personally than he could have expected. The chef has climbed into his own oven and roasted himself with a copy of Basset's review taped to the over door. There's not too much risk of misinterpreting such a gesture.

Basset is forced to realise that he's really not a very nice person and never has been. Even to the people he loves, he can be a bit of a bastard. He decides it's time to do the honourable thing and heads off to the restaurant to apologise to the chef's wife. When it all goes much better than could have been expected, he discovers that 'sorry' really is a powerful word. After years of being hooked on food and venomous criticism, Basset has found a new and dangerous addiction - repentance. Soon he's buzzing around apologising to all and sundry for all manner of misdemeanours until he accidentally hits the big time with an apology to the girl who unburdened him of his student virginity. She insists on filming him and within a day or two his apology has spread around the world through internet film-sharing sites.
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