Author: Jay Rayner. 2004.
Genre: Lad-Lit Political Satire. Food.
Other Details: ebook. 287 pages (?)
The Apologist follows the adventures of restaurant critic Marc Basset, who never said sorry to anyone until a chef to whom he gave a bad review kills himself. Wracked with guilt, he apologises to the man’s widow, and discovers he enjoys the experience so much that he decides to apologise for everything he’s ever done wrong. He’s so good at it that his talents come to the attention of the United Nations, which appoints him its Chief Apologist, to travel the world apologising for the sins of slavery, apartheid, the holocaust and much else besides. This he does by cooking luscious meals – so the book is not just political satire but a foodie romp. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
Written in 2004 Rayner managed to predict a political movement as well as a field of academic study. In his afterword for the 10th anniversary ebook edition Rayner explains how this came about as, to his surprise, life started to reflect fiction.
I came to this novel without knowing anything of its history. It was a reading group selection and in its early pages I thought it was going to be lad-lit in the style of Nick Hornby with a foodie angle. However, while it started this way it soon took a sharp turn and became a witty political satire.
I certainly found it interesting, quite funny in places as well as thought-provoking as a good satire should be. For those who did read it in our reading group it was well received and prompted a couple of members who had given up early into it to say they'll probably return to it after hearing our glowing reviews.
On a side note I do feel the Kindle estimated page count was out as it seemed longer than stated in terms of my reading time. The older paperback page counts of about 450 pages seemed more apt.