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Bad Taste

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349702261

Price: £18.99

ON SALE: 9th November 2023

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Society & Culture: General

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A timely critique of consumer culture which captures this image-obsessed moment in history, perfect for fans of Zadie Smith’s Feel Free and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror.

This book is not a taste, nor an anti-taste, manual.

This is an interrogation of the importance we place on seemingly objective ideas of taste in a culture that is saturated by imagery, and the dangerous impact this has on our identities, communities and politics. This book is dedicated to understanding the industries of taste. From the food we eat to the way we spend our free time, Olah exposes the shallow waters of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste and the rigid hierarchies that uphold this age-old dichotomy.

How did minimalism become a virtue, and who can afford to do it justice?

When did blue-collar jackets become a fashion item?

Who stands to gain from the distinction made between beauty, and sex?

Bold, original and provocative, Bad Taste is a revelatory exploration of the intersection between consumerism, class, desire and power, and a rousing call-to-arms to break free from the restrictive ways we see those around us.

‘This is a timely book, written in prose that just slips past you, in an informed and conversational manner . . . I enjoyed Bad Taste immensely.’ Sheena Patel, The Standard

‘Nathalie Olah is one of the sharpest social critics of the post-crash era and Bad Taste doesn’t disappoint.’
Sarah Jaffe


Nathalie Olah is one of the sharpest social critics of the post-crash era and Bad Taste doesn't disappoint. At once vulnerable and biting, Olah lays bare the ways in which "culture war" is submerged and prettified class war.
Sarah Jaffe, author of WORK WON'T LOVE YOU BACK
Olah is Britain's foremost culture writer.
Vicky Spratt, author of TENANTS
Provocative, vital and rigorously argued . . . Bad Taste deftly moves between aesthetics and politics, the playful and the polemical, with a nuanced attention to power and meaning in everything from a fake Renoir painting to Frasier Crane's fluffy hair . . . I finished Bad Taste with a sense of joy and possibility.
Rebecca Birrell, author of THIS DARK COUNTRY
Bad Taste is a searing polemic about the ways that money, power and social class shape our lives. But Olah is just as sharp when it comes to critiquing aesthetic trends, and the book is also a witty, erudite and engaging history of food, fashion, interior design and other forms of visual culture. Like much of the best political writing, it makes complex ideas accessible without ever dumbing them down.
James Greig, editor at DAZED
Nathalie Olah is one of the most interesting, creative and vital critical minds of her generation. Bad Taste is a gorgeous dissection of the culture we live in.
Camilla Grudova, author of CHILDREN OF PARADISE
A terrifically clear sighted and often very funny interrogation of the oddities of 'taste' and its political implications.
Francisco Garcia, author of WE ALL GO INTO THE DARK
Bad Taste is a funny, punchy, kaleidoscopic page-turner that pulls at the tangled threads of class, commerce and culture until they start to unspool, and then just keeps yanking.
The Skinny
[Bad Taste has] really changed how I think about so much of what I considered every day, trivial and yet innately accepted parts of culture . . . An incredibly lucid view of a confused world.
Tom Usher
Olah proves an astute and acidic commentator.
Richard Godwin, Guardian
I can't praise Bad Taste by Nathalie Olah enough . . .
Keiran Goddard
'Olah's scrupulous gaze is diverse as she demonstrates that taste is more than choosing maximalism over minimalism; it is used as a marker of morality, of class and of status . . . reading this book will shift your perspective, as Olah forces us to reckon with the truth behind the nuances of our decision-making.
The Big Issue
This is a timely book, written in prose that just slips past you, in an informed and conversational manner . . . I enjoyed Bad Taste immensely.
Sheena Patel, The Standard
Olah is an astute critic and researcher, and her book is testament to this.
Alice Brewer, Review31
Zingy arguments delivered in a punchy style . . .
Brendan Daly, Irish Times