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Idiopathy by Sam Byers


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Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2013.

Both scathing invective on a self-obsessed generation and moving account of love and loneliness, 'Idiopathy' skewers everything from militant environmentalists to self-help quackery and announces the arrival of a savagely funny talent.


Idiopathy by Sam Byers

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2013.

This bitterly humorous debut is a novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle. Katherine has given up trying to be happy. Her cynical wit repels the people she wants to attract, and attracts the people she knows she should repel. Her ex Daniel, meanwhile, isn't sure that he loves his new girlfriend. But somehow not telling her he loves her has become synonymous with telling her that he doesn't love her, meaning that he has to tell her he loves her just to maintain the status quo. When their former friend Nathan returns from a stint in a psychiatric ward to find that his mother has transformed herself into bestselling author and Twitter sensation 'Mother Courage' - Katherine, Daniel and Nathan decide to meet to heal old wounds. But will a reunion end well? Almost certainly not.


'Who knows what caused this hilarious, observant, and provocative novel, but I'm glad it happened. Sam Byers exhibits serious talent in his debut.' Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

'Idiopathy made me feel even WORSE about my generation, all while laughing hysterically, busting my gut, going to the hospital. It also features a delightful protagonist and the unexplainable British town of Norwich.' Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

'Witty, well observed, cynical, tender. One of the best contemporary novels I've read in ages. Sam Mills, author of The Quiddity of Will Self

'Clearly a writer to watch.' Will Skidelsky, Observer

'Fresh and confident ... Byers might have to get used to the attention.'
Sameer Rahin, Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Sam Byers was born in 1979. Idiopathy is his first novel. It has been chosen for the Waterstones 11, the annual shortlist of the book chain's favourite fiction debuts.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th April 2013


Sam Byers

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


300 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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