Despite Barry’s painful poke in publishers’ ribs, I Hate Martin Amis et al. is finally seeing the light of day, marking the debut of the sort of whip-smart writer we need more of. Barry’s experience in copywriting has stood him in good stead. He has an assured, confident voice and knows how to write a snappy sentence. Zorec is a monstrous creation but one that needs to be talked about in an industry that has far more frustrated would-be geniuses than Martin Amises. That Barry has also provided a terrifying glimpse of a Balkan conflict no one seemed to understand is a stunning bonus.
The ultimate irony is that this manuscript itself struggled to achieve publication, thankfully now remedied with everyone’s heads intact.
Chris Flynn, The Australian, 7 May 2011
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, Readings Monthly June 2011
This startlingly black novel will strike deep at the heart of all wannabe writers. Pushed to the brink by unfeeling publishers and agents who reject his work time and again, Londoner Milan Zorec decides to create a story for himself that no one can dismiss with “I feel I’ve seen this before”.
Imagining his victims as the heartless publishers’ readers who destroyed his dreams, Milan becomes a sniper in Sarajevo, fighting for a cause he does not believe in.
This is the story of Milan’s descent into the twisted heart of human nature − a dark, perverse Catcher in the Rye for our time.
Cringe from the subject matter if you will, but the astonishing insight into human nature, stunningly spare prose and raw, black humour will take your breath away.
Danielle Roller, Sunday Herald-Sun May 8, 2011
If there is any moral to Peter Barry’s debut, it is that you should not judge a book by its title.
Put off by such a pretentious name (who declares such a public war on one of Britain’s best known modernists and their ilk, after all?) it was with much trepidation that I approached this novel, only to find myself under Barry’s spell within the first paragraph.
Set in 1995, the book is narrated by Milan Zorec, a wannabe writer who can’t get his book published and then travels from England To Bosnia, where he serves as a sniper.
During this time Milan continues his plans to write, determined to wow publishers with a story they have never before encountered. This book will resonate with anyone who has ever entertained the idea of writing a novel – or has braved the slush pile and generic rejection letters – and it will make even the most earnest of wordsmiths laugh along the way.
The scenes in Sarajevo are just as compelling, demonstrating Barry’s writing talent. It won’t appeal to all readers, of course, Barry’s turn of phrase is at times idiosyncratic, in a way similar to that of Jonathon Safran Foer; but for a first novel he has pulled off something that Milan would be proud of.
Mitchell Jordan, Good Reading, June 2011
Barry plumbs some vacant places of the spirit with razor-sharp prose. This is an impressive but hardly cheerful debut.
Michael McGirr , The Age June 4, 2011