Idiopathy

Sam Byers

Idiopathy

A debut novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle Idiopathy (jdjÈRpY¸i): a disease or condition which arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. "Idiopathy" a novel as unexpected as its title, in which Katherine, Daniel, and Nathan--three characters you won't forget in a hurry--unsuccessfully try to figure out how they feel about one another and how they might best live their lives in a world gone mad. Featuring a mysterious cattle epidemic, a humiliating stint in rehab, an unwanted pregnancy, a mom-turned-media personality ("Mother Courage"), and a workplace with a bio-dome housing a perfectly engineered cornfield, it is at once a scathing satire and a moving meditation on love and loneliness. 3.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Idiopathy

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 300
RRP
Date of Publication April 2013
ISBN 978-0007412082
Publisher Fourth Estate
 

A debut novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle Idiopathy (jdjÈRpY¸i): a disease or condition which arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. "Idiopathy" a novel as unexpected as its title, in which Katherine, Daniel, and Nathan--three characters you won't forget in a hurry--unsuccessfully try to figure out how they feel about one another and how they might best live their lives in a world gone mad. Featuring a mysterious cattle epidemic, a humiliating stint in rehab, an unwanted pregnancy, a mom-turned-media personality ("Mother Courage"), and a workplace with a bio-dome housing a perfectly engineered cornfield, it is at once a scathing satire and a moving meditation on love and loneliness.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

David Annand

Brimming with comic brio and nuanced psychological insight, Idiopathy signals the arrival of an exciting new talent. Byers is brilliant at capturing the inadequacies of a generation so conceited that even their attempted altruism is self-serving and insubstantial.

03/05/2013

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The Financial Times

Joseph Charlton

If [it] sounds too much like standard gloomy social realism, fear not. Though partly an indictment of atomised Britain, Idiopathy – which Byers translates as a “condition which arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown” – is laced with satirical verve ... Byers saves his best lines for Katherine. The two men act as relative bystanders to the novel’s central action, serving primarily to comment on Katherine’s descent into self-inflicted misery. It works: this is a savagely funny debut from a gifted, cynical new voice.

10/05/2013

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The Sunday Times

Trevor Lewis

Scabrously funny, beadily ­vigilant and often piercingly perceptive, the author not only mercilessly trains a magnifying glass on broken ­relationships, but also skilfully refracts his snappy prose in such a way as to burn a hole in his characters’ self-delusions. For all Byers’s observational skills, however, he is far less effective as a satirist.

21/04/2013

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The Guardian

Catherine Taylor

Byers saves the best lines and deepest self-loathing for Katherine, a misanthropist whose allure and self-destructiveness echo that monstrous yet ultimately vulnerable creation, Nicola Six in Martin Amis's nihilistic London Fields ... But her magnificent emptiness is not sustained throughout the novel. Byers makes his characters peak too early, so that the finale – a blackly farcical reunion between the three friends – fizzles rather than fizzes.

13/04/2013

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The Literary Review

Simon Hammond

Well-trodden disappointments dog the characters: their jobs are dreary, their relationships are miserable and they are not getting any younger. Perhaps this is what living in Norfolk is like these days – Byers is a recent UEA graduate – but realistic or not, it doesn’t make for a particularly invigorating novel.

01/05/2013

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