I Hate Martin Amis et al.

Peter Barry

I Hate Martin Amis et al.
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I Hate Martin Amis et al.

Peter Barry

It is 1995. Milan Zorec, an aspiring yet rejected novelist, travels from England to Bosnia to join the Serbian forces as a sniper in Sarajevo, in the final months of the longest siege in history. He’s determined to find a story that no publisher will be able to damn with the words, ‘I feel I’ve seen this before.’

In doing so Milan journeys from innocence into the slow burning grip of darkness. Among his fellow snipers, the lost souls who make up Ratko Mladic’s army, Milan gains the ammunition to write his masterpiece - the novel that hasn’t been written before.

Alternating between London and Sarajevo, I Hate Martin Amis et al is a chilling, blackly humorous novel that will appeal to both lovers of the word and anyone who’s fallen short of their ambitions. Peter Barry’s stunningly original, award winning debut isn’t just about literary failure, though. It’s a compelling portrait of the dreamer, and bores down into the very centre of things - why we write, why we read, how we might live in these, the strangest of times.


‘I shall start by writing about my first victim,’ begins the most interesting and engrossing book that I have read in well over a year. Set in the mid-nineties, I Hate Martin Amis et al. is the story of Milan Zorec, a much-rejected unpublished novelist, recently also rejected by his girlfriend, who’s determined to write a book that no publisher will be able to turn away from. Trading his dead-end job for the Yugoslavian war, Milan travels from England to Bosnia to volunteer for the Serb army and becomes a sniper in Sarajevo during the final months of the longest siege in history. Here he hopes to come face-to-face with the horrors of humanity so that he’ll be able to write a book that no publisher can dismiss with the words, ‘I feel like I’ve seen this before.’

An earlier draft of this book won the 2005 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Simply put, this book is brilliant. It’s written in such a way that it literally can’t be put down – I sat up until four in the morning reading it, even though I had a seven o’clock start the next day. It is dark and confronting, but at the same time every sentence is powered by a strange kind of humour. I found myself jumping from sentence to sentence and chapter to chapter, constantly wanting more. I didn’t want to stop reading.

I Hate Martin Amis et al. is like nothing you’ll have read before – and I’m sure that it’s set to be one of the must-reads of 2011. This book is so well constructed, so well-written and so interesting that it will appeal to anyone. If you’re after a great read – get this book. If you’re after a great gift – again, get this book.

Nathan Reid is from Readings Malvern.

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