BOOKS

The Apologist

Jay Rayner

RRP: £7.99

10 February 2005

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781843541899

‘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

Marc Bassett has a reputation as a pitiless restaurant critic. When he writes a devastatingly 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: apologise. Startled by the widow’s forgiveness and absolution, he feels unexpectedly euphoric. He decides to gorge himself on contrition by apologising to every person he has ever wronged in his entire life.

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, apologising 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.

‘A very funny book about apologies – by someone who has a lot to apologise for’ Anthony Bourdain