Author(s): Sam Byers


This bitterly humorous debut is a novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle. Katherine and Daniel used to be together. Now Katherine hates everyone, but not as much as she hates herself, while Daniel tells his new girlfriend he loves her, because not telling her would be like telling her he doesn't love her. From out of the blue comes a message from their old friend, rehabilitated party animal Nathan - now adjusting to his mother's new career as a misery memoirist, her tales of maternal hardships the stuff of Twitter superstardom. Nathan suggests a reunion, but with the bad blood flowing like cheap wine, it can't end well. As a bovine plague sweeps across the nation, a toxic dinner party gets underway - its atmosphere so poisonous that none of them will escape infection ...


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"A savagely brilliant novel ... Brimming with comic brio and nuanced psychological insight, 'Idiopathy' signals the arrival of an exciting new talent ... If 'Idiopathy' was half as fun to write as it is to read I suspect Mr Byers found some happiness along the way." David Annand, Sunday Telegraph "This is a savagely funny debut from a gifted, cynical new voice." Joseph Charlton, FT "Will make you purr with delight. It's well observed, light on its feet and never less than entertaining, with elegant ruminations on sex, love and loneliness that offset by some sublime comic riffs on the state of the nation." Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler "Scabrously funny, beadily vigilant and often piercingly perceptive ... it's hard to fault the enthusiasm with which Byers goes about his task, or the vicious wit he brings to it." Trevor Lewis, Sunday Times "Page by page, an almost indecently entertaining book. Byers goes beyond being merely a talented comic novelist ... insights bring the deeper laughs - and they are what allow him to turn the corner, as the novel reaches its climax, into something altogether more poignant and more serious." Sam Leith, TLS "A howling dig at cultural myopia." Catherine Taylor, Guardian "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

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.

General Fields

  • : 9780007412105
  • : HarperCollins Publishers
  • : Fourth Estate Ltd
  • : December 2013
  • : 197mm X 130mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sam Byers
  • : Paperback
  • : Feb-14
  • : 823.92
  • : 300