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Lisel SchillingerThis amuse-gueule of a plot is followed by a main course worthy of an ovation.
— The New York Times
I am sorry you bought this book. If it was given to you as a gift, then technically I am not required -- or even entitled -- to apologize to you. My apology should go to the original purchaser and they, in turn, should say sorry. To be honest, though, I can't be bothered with any of those rigid laws and rules anymore. I can see they are needed for diplomatic exchanges, and as a onetime exponent of the art of the international apology -- the leading exponent, I suppose -- I was constantly grateful that the Professor had gone to the bother of formulating all the laws in the first place. But they have their time and their place and this isn't one of them.
The point is, I'm sorry this book was bought. Somewhere along the line somebody has been conned by the smart-ass cover art which the art director obviously thought would set it apart from all the other guff on the bookshop shelves (and which, admittedly, did the trick, or it wouldn't be in your hands now). Beautiful trees have been destroyed needlessly to make the paper. Then there's the grievous waste of oil-based ink. And we mustn't forget the obscenely large cash advance paid on this insidious doorstop which will, inevitably, result in the publisher having to spend its remaining money on banal, dead-certain bestsellers to the exclusion of anything new, interesting, or challenging. Finally, of course, there's the waste of your time, should you be one of those people who insist upon finishing a book once they've started it, and I know there are a lot of you out there.
I admit -- and under the Professor's first law, I am required to admit -- that I am not sorry about absolutely everything in this book. There's some pretty good writing between pages 129 and 133. I like the descriptions of my father, which are honest, and I always will have a warm place in my heart for the tasting menu of chocolate dishes in chapter 29. It really was as good as I make it sound.
As for the rest of it, I think you probably get the idea by now. I'm sorry. I'm just so bloody sorry.
Copyright © 2004 by Jay Rayner