The Party is a good holiday read – but not really if you know the storyline! Read on to discover the apparent juxtaposition. Just how can a holiday go so terribly wrong for a party of friends? This is a Richard and Judy recommendation – here is a summary of this holiday storyline …
The Party by Elizabeth Day is a dark, suffocating and satirical pick for the Richard and Judy Summer 2018 Book Club which explores corruption and hypocrisy amongst the privileged classes. When Martin Gilmour won a scholarship to Burtonbury School at the age of 13, he felt like an outsider and struggled to fit in. That is until he met dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice who introduced him to his exclusive world. Switching between their school days and Ben’s 40th party, where the good and great of British society have gathered to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour, we know that something terrible has happened. Martin is being questioned by the police and the puzzle pieces gradually come together to reveal a tale of lifelong obsession, jealousy and betrayal.
Judy describes The Party as a ‘dark, haunting story’ and Richard praises Elizabeth Day’s ‘beautifully crafted writing’.
What makes this work so well is the six great characters (plus assorted children). The story revolves around two members Martin and Lucy. Very early in the story, Lucy discovers a text that suggests that Martin is having an affair. Not just an affair but with one of the holiday party. However, Lucy is not sure which guest is the culprit. As the story develops, each of the guests has a complex back story and relationships are straining at the seams. One particular relationship at school between two of the guests has a great bearing on the outcome: ending in a very dark story with two dramatic events which determine the storyline and tragic outcome.
The author touches on a range of topics including obsession, loyalty, power, and class distinctions. Do you like any of the characters? Probably not but the dark menace is enriched by the characters.
It is a compelling story as the author pulls you in with more revelations. Yes, a page-turner but the end twist is disappointing but still a great holiday read.
In this video, Elizabeth Day introduces us to The Party