A bargain for which you don’t have to apologise

The Apologist by Jay Rayner



I’ve just learned that the eBook of my novel, The Apologist, is at a bargain price of just 99p for a few more days. You can get it by going to the books page and clicking on the cover

Meanwhile, here’s some stuff from the original press release, issued at eBook publication last year.



It was the book that predicted a whole political movement, imagined a field of academic study that became a reality and inspired an internet craze. Now the 10th anniversary of the cult novel The Apologist, by acclaimed restaurant critic Jay Rayner, is being marked by its publication for the first time as an eBook.

For politicians the past ten years have been the sorriest decade: Tony Blair said sorry for slavery; Gordon Brown apologised for the treatment of code breaker Alan Turing; Barack Obama asked forgiveness from Guatemala for the way prisoners there were used by the United States in medical tests; and David Cameron apologised for almost everything, including the Tory Party’s demonisation of Nelson Mandela, the homophobic Section 28 and even an ageist remark to an elderly Labour MP.

For award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster Jay Rayner, this outbreak of official penitence was a case of fact aping fiction. His 2004 novel had predicted it all. 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 their 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.

At the heart of the novel is the irascible Professor Thomas Schenke and his academic papers expounding his theory of Penitential Engagement. It was supposed to be satire but in the years following publication Jay discovered that official penitence had indeed become an academic discipline, producing papers with titles like The Age of Apology: Facing up to the past; The Role of Apology in International Law; and Official Apologies and the Quest for Historical Justice. What’s more, many of those papers referenced Jay’s novel.

‘The idea that saying sorry, the thing our mums taught us to do, could become an area of academic study was meant to be a joke,’ Jay says now. ‘But in the past decade it’s become a serious business, with numerous academics building their whole reputations on it.’

The new eBook edition comes complete with an afterword that traces the origins of the novel in the hit US sitcom Friends, the way it launched a cult ‘apologising’ website where thousands from around the world said sorry for their own misdeeds, and how Hollywood attempts to bring the story to the screen were scuppered by the great Brad PittJennifer Aniston-Angelina Jolie love triangle. ‘Most satirical novels capture a precise moment in time,’ Jay says. ‘But The Apologist managed to be ahead of the curve and predict a whole political movement, which is why I’m delighted that, for its 10th birthday, it will finally be available as an eBook.’


Praise for The Apologist

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

‘Worthy of a standing ovation.’ The New York Times

‘It is a brave writer who apologises for his novel in the preface, but Jay Rayner has apology taped … the timeliness of the novel is a terrific coup.’ The Independent

‘Laugh-out-loud funny.’ InStyle

‘It’s difficult to imagine why anybody wouldn’t like The Apologist.’ The Guardian

‘A darkly humorous satire about the emotional state we’re in … like all the best comedy, the novel has a serious point to make.’ Time Out

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