The Party
A gripping story of obsession and betrayal, privilege and hypocrisy, set in the unassailable heart of the British establishment.‘As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation. Because, although I didn't know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again.’Martin Gilmour is an outsider. When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent. But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world. Soon Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family’s estate, as Ben becomes the brother he never had.But Martin has a secret. He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell. It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years.At Ben’s 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich – Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging. His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too. There is disquiet in the air. But Ben wouldn’t do anything to damage their friendship.Would he?

The Party Details

TitleThe Party
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 13th, 2017
PublisherFourth Estate
ISBN0008194262
ISBN-139780008194260
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, European Literature, British Literature

The Party Review

  • Susan
    March 23, 2017
    Martin Gilmour is being interviewed by the police when we first meet him. The thirty nine year old art critic had recently attended a party at the home of his best friend, Ben Fitzmaurice. The party was to celebrate Ben’s fortieth birthday, as well as being a house warming party for Ben, and his wife Serena’s, new home - the beautiful Tipworth Priory. This novel tells the story of what happened at the party from various viewpoints. There is the background of how Martin, the poor son of a dominee Martin Gilmour is being interviewed by the police when we first meet him. The thirty nine year old art critic had recently attended a party at the home of his best friend, Ben Fitzmaurice. The party was to celebrate Ben’s fortieth birthday, as well as being a house warming party for Ben, and his wife Serena’s, new home - the beautiful Tipworth Priory. This novel tells the story of what happened at the party from various viewpoints. There is the background of how Martin, the poor son of a domineering mother, managed to achieve a scholarship to a minor public school, where he meets Ben. Ben is from an aristocratic family and has everything that Martin yearns for – confidence, wealth and class. From the very beginning, Martin is smitten by Ben and does everything he can to insinuate himself into his life; both at school and later at Cambridge. As well as the relationship between Martin and Ben, we also hear of how Martin met his wife, Lucy. Although Lucy appears plain when presented next to the stunning Serena, for me she was the most interesting character in the novel. Struggling always as second place in Martin’s affections, after Ben, Lucy is not keen to attend the party at all and is unwilling to see the wealthy Fitzmaurice’s in the same rosy tinted glow as Martin seems to view them. Lastly, of course, gradually we learn what actually happened on the night of the party and of the consequences of those events. This is a book about the outward glamour of wealth and class, and the reality underneath the glossy surface. Indeed, much of the substance of this novel exists as undercurrents – with secrets, rumours, hidden emotions and loyalties. I have never read anything by Elizabeth Day before, but I really found this an interesting portrait of the desperate desire to belong, of the pain of unrequited love and of the complex relationships between the characters. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future and of exploring her past work.
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  • Blair
    July 4, 2017
    A scrappy outsider accepted, precariously, by a privileged clique; the golden allure of wealth and exclusivity; a terrible and deadly secret. Give me variations on this theme from now until death and I will be perfectly happy. The Party is like The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Secret History and Brideshead Revisited got together and had a beautiful, twisted child. Our narrator, Martin Gilmour, is a bitchy sociopathic narcissist – so naturally, I adored him.At boarding school, Martin is an outcast. H A scrappy outsider accepted, precariously, by a privileged clique; the golden allure of wealth and exclusivity; a terrible and deadly secret. Give me variations on this theme from now until death and I will be perfectly happy. The Party is like The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Secret History and Brideshead Revisited got together and had a beautiful, twisted child. Our narrator, Martin Gilmour, is a bitchy sociopathic narcissist – so naturally, I adored him.At boarding school, Martin is an outcast. His background doesn't match up to the other boys', and he struggles to understand boundaries and codes of behaviour, which stops him from making his mark by way of charm or humour. Everything changes when he impresses golden boy Ben Fitzmaurice and the two quickly become best friends, so inseparable that Martin spends summers with Ben's family and, eventually, they head to the same Cambridge college together. 25 years later, Ben, now outrageously rich, is hosting a party. The guestlist is star-studded; there are even rumours the Prime Minister will attend. Martin's invited, but he's chagrined that he and his wife, Lucy, have had to make do with a Premier Inn hotel room rather than being asked to stay at the Fitzmaurices' sprawling manor. After all, he and Ben are like brothers. At least, that's how he sees it.Opening with a scene in which Martin is questioned by the police, The Party bounces between Martin's version of the history of his friendship with Ben, pages from Lucy's notebook, and, of course, the party itself. Along the way, questions are slowly answered – often in ways you wouldn't expect – and new ones are thrown up. What is the secret that has bound obsessed Martin and reluctant Ben together as 'best friends' for a quarter of a century? What lurks behind the facade of Martin and Lucy's marriage? And what happens to lead Martin to that police interview room?I love stories like this and I love protagonists like Martin, but I've been burned by bad pastiches many times, so it's exhilarating to find a novel in which plot and character are pulled off with such breathtaking skill. It's much harder than it looks to write this kind of narrator successfully: get it wrong and you're left with nothing but shallow nastiness. Here, as calculating and cruel as he may sometimes be, the reader is always on Martin's side. (Well, this reader was, anyway.) There's also Lucy. The unexpected nuance written into her chapters is its own kind of masterstroke. The narrative is so powerful that she could easily be sidelined – the dowdy woman who has to take a back seat to her husband's fixation with Ben, the butt of their friends' jokes, a person with no interior life of her own. Not so here. Her development took me by surprise, and after finishing the book, I find the thing I'm still thinking about the most is the complicated and really quite beautiful relationship between Martin and Lucy.I loved every page of The Party and I never wanted it to end. It is meticulously structured – tiny clues meted out so you're utterly gripped while the plot always stays a couple of strides ahead of you – and Martin and Lucy are both brilliantly realised characters. Read it on the beach, read it on a rainy day, read it on your way to work, whatever – just read it.I received an advance review copy of The Party from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Olive (abookolive)
    July 2, 2017
    See my ~tipsy~ review on booktube: https://youtu.be/H5QHeIyx3_0
  • Bandit
    July 28, 2017
    The word party has several meanings as the first page brings to one's attention. This is the party you'll want to check out. But then again what might you be a party to? And who will be the guilty parties? I loved Day's Paradise City, so when I saw this one available on Netgalley I didn't even read about it too much, immediately requesting it. And, awesomely enough, Day doesn't disappoint. The Party is a very different book (where Paradise City was optimistic, this book is extremely dark), but i The word party has several meanings as the first page brings to one's attention. This is the party you'll want to check out. But then again what might you be a party to? And who will be the guilty parties? I loved Day's Paradise City, so when I saw this one available on Netgalley I didn't even read about it too much, immediately requesting it. And, awesomely enough, Day doesn't disappoint. The Party is a very different book (where Paradise City was optimistic, this book is extremely dark), but it does employ some of the similar narrative techniques, mainly the shifting perspectives, of which Day is a master. No event is isolated, it is observed and changes accordingly. So when a violent bust up occurs at a posh party, we the readers are given a panopticon view of the occurrence and all that lead up to it, the slow simmer that eventually came to a boil, the inevitability of it, like a car crash in slow motion, terrible, impossible to look away. Actually maybe not the panopticon view per se, but there are at least two very differing perspectives, two spouses, two sides of a love triangle of sorts, as the narrative alternates between present and past done just right to sustain the maximum suspense. It has the pacing of a mystery thriller with the quality of a terrific psychological dramatic fiction. What might have been a mere tale of an unrequited love turns into an exploration of class differences, the impossible disparity between the social strata, the desperation it produces and the abyss at the end of that road. Martin is a fascinating protagonist (or is he an antagonist?), a sort of a sociopath and yet his flaws are all too recognizable, his desires all too relatable. Driven by the singular obsessive pursuit of social acceptance and an impossible love he's an embodiment of desperation, bound for a lifelong disappointment of never knowing a security and comfort that comes from being happy or at least content with yourself and your lot in life. There's some terrific meditation here on the deleterious power of money and moneyed as they coast the waves others get buried under. Day does a great job of exposing the charm and callousness and thoughtless cruelty of the upper classes, but also at times the secrets so well protected, the basic nature that lurks underneath the glamor. It's a very clever book and works on so many levels, particularly as far as social psychology goes. Sort of a modern spin on the timeless motif or several timeless motifs and a completely engaging read, read in one day. I've recently been told by my dearly beloved that I seem to be really into books with likeable characters, well, here's the proof of my range. This book doesn't have a particularly likeable cast by any means (fascinating and complicated and interesting as they are) and I loved it. Enthusiastically recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    July 11, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/It begins with a door that wouldn’t open at the Tipworth Premier Inn.No one wants to be anyone’s shadow, but Martin’s life has been deeply entwined with best friend Ben’s since childhood. Money along with inborn charisma has made Ben’s life a blessing where for Martin, everything is hard won. A shared past, and Martin’s fierce loyalty beyond brotherhood has kept the friendship thriving. The readers are witness to a seduction into a sort of surro via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/It begins with a door that wouldn’t open at the Tipworth Premier Inn.No one wants to be anyone’s shadow, but Martin’s life has been deeply entwined with best friend Ben’s since childhood. Money along with inborn charisma has made Ben’s life a blessing where for Martin, everything is hard won. A shared past, and Martin’s fierce loyalty beyond brotherhood has kept the friendship thriving. The readers are witness to a seduction into a sort of surrogate family, to Martin shedding his humble origins. The question is, who is truly being seduced? Martin and Ben’s friendship has so much mileage, so why is it that for Ben’s 40th birthday bash among the upper class Martin and his wife Lucy are left feeling shunned? Lucy is the ever devoted, loving wife- protective, if not a little resentful of his love for Ben. Where Ben’s wife Serena has a natural glamour and grace, Lucy is more messy, common and if she feels like an outsider beside the wealthy couple, she will suffer it for the sake of her husband Martin, even if his love for best friend Ben seems unequal. Even if Serena’s snobbery is exhaustively ridiculous.Something disturbing takes place the night of the party, and all we know is that Martin is being questioned by police and Lucy is facing a an uncomfortable dissection of her relationship with Martin. Serena and Ben’s future too is hanging in the air. The past smells of rot, from cold mothers, to untouchable wealth and the strangeness of some children. There are the used and discarded, those who benefit and the leverage we hold over others. This is love at it’s most destructive, excessive, desperate, and pathological. Why do some of us feed off scraps, and remain loyal pets- kicked into submission and always wagging our tail for more?Lucy is the most misunderstood character of the novel among the group. Seen as tepid, helpless, a bit silly- she in fact is far more perceptive than any suffering wife wants to be. Witness to Martin emulating his best friend- down to his shoes, she isn’t so much the foolish bore Martin believes. The happenstance of birth builds or destroys, even those who try to climb above their place can’t do so without carnage. Just what happens when you have sacrificed all of your being for another, what do you do when you are stripped of the comfort you have clung to? Maybe in the end, you bide your time…A disturbing tale indeed! Perfect for anyone who likes psychological damage, and strange characters.Publication Date: August 15, 2017Little, Brown and Company
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  • Alyson Larrabee
    July 22, 2017
    I received an Advance Review Copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. During the first two thirds of the story, the angel-tongued eloquence, the superb quality of the prose carried me away. The quality of the writing and the rapid-fire issuance of original and apt figurative language were positively gasp-worthy. Characters and their interactions, no matter how minor turned into acute psychological insights and analyses. Everyone in the story had a semi-complicated (some wholly complicated) a I received an Advance Review Copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. During the first two thirds of the story, the angel-tongued eloquence, the superb quality of the prose carried me away. The quality of the writing and the rapid-fire issuance of original and apt figurative language were positively gasp-worthy. Characters and their interactions, no matter how minor turned into acute psychological insights and analyses. Everyone in the story had a semi-complicated (some wholly complicated) and detailed backstory. The story is told through two characters’ points of view (not confusing-clearly delineated): Martin Gilmour and his wife Lucy.Martin Gilmour, the main character, was fascinating and should have been unlikeable, but wasn’t. He was fully aware of his depravity, though, admitting his sociopathic tendencies in an endearing and self-deprecating way. He wasn’t the “man you love to hate”. He was the man you know you should hate, but don’t. No doubt his horrible childhood shaped him into the adult he became, but he never seemed to view his experiences as excuses for his behavior. Also, his vulnerability saved him from seeming too repulsive to care about.Martin’s wife Lucy was more obviously likeable, especially when she explained her past (to her psychoanalyst, Keith). Once again, she seemed like a doormat, but just when you felt it was okay to wipe your feet on her, she’d do something brave, or utter an acerbic witticism. From page one, the reader knows that something earthshattering happened at a party and that a tragic secret will be unearthed eventually. Most of the narrative flashes back to the past and then into the present, but the author gives the reader fair warning and none of it’s confusing. Although the book is brilliantly written, character driven, and skillfully plotted, there were a few places, mostly toward the end, where the metaphors grew overly ostentatious, tacked onto statements that had already sufficiently gotten to the point. A very small percentage of the figurative language was belabored, or maybe the opposite, too glib. Still, I’m giving The Party five well deserved stars.
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  • Liz
    April 9, 2017
    I received an arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review The Party follows Martin Gilmour, and unravels the circumstances leading up to the 40th birthday party of his childhood best friend, Ben. What immediately struck me about this story is the similarities it holds to a Donna Tartt novel. That same exploration of an outcasted student's obsession with the wealthy elite and the dark twists it leads to is probably the thing that most drew me to the book, and I'm glad it didn't let me I received an arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review The Party follows Martin Gilmour, and unravels the circumstances leading up to the 40th birthday party of his childhood best friend, Ben. What immediately struck me about this story is the similarities it holds to a Donna Tartt novel. That same exploration of an outcasted student's obsession with the wealthy elite and the dark twists it leads to is probably the thing that most drew me to the book, and I'm glad it didn't let me down. Despite the extremities of the characters' actions, Day still managed to make them relatable and believable; and while I despised pretty much every character other than Martin's wife, Lucy, I found myself still caring about what might happen to them and what they may have done. Lots of books I've read that try to offer a glimpse into the roots of corruption and psychological darkness often fail in execution because they make all their characters so detestable that in the end it doesn't have the desired effect when bad things happen to them. However, The Party managed to overcoming this in my reading.My only issue was that the ending was a little bit too cliff hangery for my liking. While I can definitely see what the author was trying to do, it did make it seem like loose ends were left a little bit too open.
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  • Anne Foster
    July 7, 2017
    I adore a good flawed character and was drawn in from the first page of this novel! Told alternately from Martin and his wife, Lucy's perspectives, we see a couple doomed from the beginning because of Martin's personality flaws and his obsession with his wealthy friend, Ben. As we bounce back and forth from Ben's 40th birthday party to Martin and Ben's school days, we soon realize there is nothing right about any of these relationships. Secrets, lies, family dynamics, and control issues dominate I adore a good flawed character and was drawn in from the first page of this novel! Told alternately from Martin and his wife, Lucy's perspectives, we see a couple doomed from the beginning because of Martin's personality flaws and his obsession with his wealthy friend, Ben. As we bounce back and forth from Ben's 40th birthday party to Martin and Ben's school days, we soon realize there is nothing right about any of these relationships. Secrets, lies, family dynamics, and control issues dominate everything involved in this devious plot. Even the final page left me breathless. This is my kind of thriller!
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  • Casey (caseyrosereads)
    July 20, 2017
    2.5 Stars rounded upThere were more than a few times that I wanted to stop reading this book, relegate it to my DNF list, and move on, but I often feel a need to finish books that I've received thanks to NetGalley and each book's publisher. There is nothing to like about any of the characters in this book, and while most are not meant to be likable people, the broad strokes of poor behavior were enough to make most of them boring as well. It's teased out early on in the story that someone from t 2.5 Stars rounded upThere were more than a few times that I wanted to stop reading this book, relegate it to my DNF list, and move on, but I often feel a need to finish books that I've received thanks to NetGalley and each book's publisher. There is nothing to like about any of the characters in this book, and while most are not meant to be likable people, the broad strokes of poor behavior were enough to make most of them boring as well. It's teased out early on in the story that someone from the party, Ben's 40th birthday party, is either dead or seriously injured and the police want to know how that came to happen. This hint of mystery did help keep me reading, but what a slog. Martin is full of unending jealous disdain for everything and everyone, especially those whom he so desperately wants to be, and its hinted that maybe he's a sociopath. His own mother stands by her assertion that there's always been something wrong with him. Mild spoiler, and I say mild because hints are introduced fairly early on-Martin's inability to accept that he's gay, and his unrequited love for Ben is a frustrating catalyst for me. All these cruel people who would seemingly make Martin's life worse for daring to be who he really is feels so grossly sad. I don't enjoy spending time with characters who kill animals, who hate the people who have things they don't, who get so mired down in their own self-loathing that they can't find a way to live a real life. It's just not for me.
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  • Brandi
    July 22, 2017
    I tried so hard to like this book but I just couldn't find anything to like. The main character Martin is weird and demented, his wife Lucy blends right in with his personality and Ben, Martin's crush is a self obsessed rich boy who doesnt have any real problems. I couldn't connect or even form an idea of how any of the characters might have looked and the story line was uneventful. I really hate this was what I won off of Goodreads :(
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  • Helen Marquis
    March 31, 2017
    Reminiscent in its plot structure to "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriaty, this engrossing tale of haves and have-nots, social climbing, obsession and more, starts with the ending, and then jumps between the past and the present to explain what actually happened and how the reader ended up where they are.The social-climbing central character, Martin Gilmour, has gone from humble beginnings and an overbearing mother, to hanging out with the aristocracy via a scholarship to a public school and then Reminiscent in its plot structure to "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriaty, this engrossing tale of haves and have-nots, social climbing, obsession and more, starts with the ending, and then jumps between the past and the present to explain what actually happened and how the reader ended up where they are.The social-climbing central character, Martin Gilmour, has gone from humble beginnings and an overbearing mother, to hanging out with the aristocracy via a scholarship to a public school and then on to Oxford Uni. He obsessively forces a friendship with Ben Fitzmaurice, creating a persona for himself that makes him agreeable to all of Ben's interests - from music, to drinking, to girls. And then he cements his friendship with a secret that neither of them want anyone else to know about, and which bonds them for life.As they come together for Ben's 40th birthday celebrations, it is clear that the divide between them has grown, as Ben has coasted through life, his family status opening doors for him everywhere he goes, whereas Martin has had more struggles, less influence and no silver spoon with which to feast upon life's riches. However, Martin is not giving up his obsessive friendship that he has invested so much time and energy into, without a fight.... A fascinating study of the Great British class divide, with a nice side helping of obsession, jealousy, envy and pretty much all of the seven deadly sins.
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  • Ian Brydon
    July 24, 2017
    lizabeth Day has scored a triumph with her latest novel. Martin Gilmour is a successful journalist and art critic, whose recent analysis of modern art has become a best seller. As the book opens he and his wife, Lucy, are arriving at a local hotel, prior to attending the fortieth birthday part of Martin’s childhood friend Ben. Ben is incredibly wealthy, and the party will prove to be a major extravaganza, with many celebrities among the guests, and rumours abounding that the Prime Minister himse lizabeth Day has scored a triumph with her latest novel. Martin Gilmour is a successful journalist and art critic, whose recent analysis of modern art has become a best seller. As the book opens he and his wife, Lucy, are arriving at a local hotel, prior to attending the fortieth birthday part of Martin’s childhood friend Ben. Ben is incredibly wealthy, and the party will prove to be a major extravaganza, with many celebrities among the guests, and rumours abounding that the Prime Minister himself might even attend. It soon becomes evident that something significant happened at the party, though it is some time before we learn what the incident was.The narrative moves between present day interviews at a local police station, reminiscences of Martin’s and Ben’s time at school and university, and entries from the journal kept by one of the characters during their stay at a private clinic. We learn that Ben comes from an immensely wealthy and ennobled family, and that his life has been very easy, littered with entitlement and privilege. Martin’s background is very different. He had been raised by a single mother, his father having died a few months before Martin’s birth. His mother was clearly a forceful but distant person, and there was little emotional succour available during Martin’s upbringing. Throughout his childhood and early adolescence Martin was a loner, until he was sent to Burtonbury, a minor public school to which he had won a full scholarship. This was where he encountered ben, and his outlook on life changed.The plot moves rapidly as we learn more about Martin’s psychological make-up, illuminated by a few key episodes from his early years. The descriptions of the interactions between the boys at the school are particularly well drawn, as are the developing relationships between Martin and Lucy and Martin and Ben. It is obvious to everyone (with the sole exception of Martin) that Ben has moved on. His interest in Martin’s views and life are superficial at best, though Martin fails, or at least refuses, to acknowledge this. The consequential tension between Lucy and Serena, Ben’s trophy wife, is especially powerful.As with her previous novel, Paradise City, Day manages the multi-narrative form very adeptly. The emerging storylines keep pace with each other in a delicate balance, enhancing the build-up as the book moves towards its denouement. On top of all that, Day has a beautiful prose style, and a fine ear for dialogue, and the overall impact is quite dizzying.
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  • Lucy Banks
    May 11, 2017
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.An engrossing, unnerving account of obsession, entitlement and the cruelty of the wealthy.This book was completely captivating, but that isn't to say it was easy reading. In fact, some elements were vaguely disconcerting, not to mention borderline repellent at times. However, to my mind, that only improved the story, not impeded it.The story focuses on three main characters. Martin, who we swiftly realise is socially I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.An engrossing, unnerving account of obsession, entitlement and the cruelty of the wealthy.This book was completely captivating, but that isn't to say it was easy reading. In fact, some elements were vaguely disconcerting, not to mention borderline repellent at times. However, to my mind, that only improved the story, not impeded it.The story focuses on three main characters. Martin, who we swiftly realise is socially inept / mentally unstable, Ben, a wealthy, charming chap with a strong sense of entitlement, and Martin's wife Lucy - doting, fearless and completely blind to her husband's faults. It flits between the past and the present - the present being the big party at Ben's house, where celebrities and famous politicians abound. We swiftly learn that something awful has happened at the party (though the big reveal is saved until the end), and gradually, Martin and Ben's past is unravelled. Without saying too much, it becomes very clear that this isn't a healthy friendship, but something darker and more disturbing. When reading this book, I was reminded of Brideshead Revisited. There's the same friendship / love affair set-up between the two main male characters, plus the same strong sister (though in this case, she's called Fliss). However, where the relationship in Brideshead Revisited is nostalgic, bittersweet, here it is unsettling and at times, poisonous. Martin's obsession with Ben is pathetic at best, completely creepy at worst - and the author conveys this really well. It's also one of those peculiar books that leaves the reader not really sure who to like. Characters behave badly throughout (apart from Lucy, but even she isn't entirely likeable) - however, in this instance, it works really well. The reader is placed in the position of dispassionate outsider, without investing much emotion into the characters, but that's really not a problem here. Overall, it's a very well-written, gripping book - I'd definitely recommend it.
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  • Shawna P.
    July 21, 2017
    Parties are fascinating things. You can have a party for just about any reason. Having a birthday? There is a party for that. Celebrating a new baby? There is a party for that. Getting your dingaling snipped....yes, there is even a party for that. We humans like parties. The Party is no different, except we add in about a million dollars, tons of famous people, and two best friends harboring a deep secret.The Party is being stemmed The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Secret History and Brideshead. I ha Parties are fascinating things. You can have a party for just about any reason. Having a birthday? There is a party for that. Celebrating a new baby? There is a party for that. Getting your dingaling snipped....yes, there is even a party for that. We humans like parties. The Party is no different, except we add in about a million dollars, tons of famous people, and two best friends harboring a deep secret.The Party is being stemmed The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Secret History and Brideshead. I have never read any of those books...so couldn't tell you. It did remind me of The Great Gatsbythough. Martin and Ben have been good friends since their childhood years and now things are coming to a head. Was there friendship ever actually mutual? What tied them together all those years ago? Why is Serena such a bitch!? (This was actually never fully answered). I am struggling with what to rate this because it's not my usual type of read. It was engaging at parts, boring at others. And honestly....you knew what was going to happen right away. I can't for the life of me remember if I have read a book like this...or at least spoilers for a book like this, but the main plot has been done. I think this book will remind readers of Liane Moriarty and her plots. If you are into chick lit with some suspense, this is for you. If you want more surprises...like a good party should have...then this may not be for you. One thing that made this not be a five star was the ending... (view spoiler)[ Seriously...I wanted to see those spoiled shits....especially Serena be served some hot juicy justice.I have recently had a falling out with a friend and have actually had dreams... nightmares about her saying the exact same thing about not having kids to me! Get out of my head Ms. Day! (hide spoiler)]
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  • Damaskcat
    July 14, 2017
    Martin and Ben first meet at boarding school and Martin quickly becomes obsessed with Ben who seems to be everything he isn't. Their uneasy friendship outlasts school and university and Martin becomes an honorary member of the charismatic Fitzmaurice family. But the relationship isn't a healthy one and inevitably the end comes in an explosion of violence at Ben's extravagant 40th birthday party.This is a book where the reader knows from the start that something awful has happened but what has ha Martin and Ben first meet at boarding school and Martin quickly becomes obsessed with Ben who seems to be everything he isn't. Their uneasy friendship outlasts school and university and Martin becomes an honorary member of the charismatic Fitzmaurice family. But the relationship isn't a healthy one and inevitably the end comes in an explosion of violence at Ben's extravagant 40th birthday party.This is a book where the reader knows from the start that something awful has happened but what has happened isn't revealed until almost the end of the book. The story is revealed in excerpts from the journal written by Martin's wife, Lucy and by Martin himself as he looks back on his life and the way it has intersected with Ben's life.I was totally engrossed in this book and read it in less than twenty four hours. I didn't like Martin as a character, I must admit but I found I had to keep reading to find out what happened. Who is at fault in this portrait of an obsession? Both Martin and Ben are flawed human beings and even the charismatic Ben isn't terribly likeable. Neither of them seem willing to face up to the havoc they cause in other people's lives.This is a well written book but not an enjoyable one. I think it would be a good book club read as it raises a lot of questions about modern life and society and it is likely to create some lively discussions.
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  • Lucille
    July 18, 2017
    I thoroughly enjoyed The Party with its contemporary depiction of how the other half lives in the 21st century. Not so different from the themes in 20th century classics like The Great Gatsby, Brideshead Revisited and The Line of Beauty where an outsider, in this case Martin Gilmour, becomes obsessed with the most popular boy at school. Ben Fitzmaurice tolerates Martin and, after an incident when they are both at Cambridge together, the privileged Fitzmaurice family accept him as one of the fami I thoroughly enjoyed The Party with its contemporary depiction of how the other half lives in the 21st century. Not so different from the themes in 20th century classics like The Great Gatsby, Brideshead Revisited and The Line of Beauty where an outsider, in this case Martin Gilmour, becomes obsessed with the most popular boy at school. Ben Fitzmaurice tolerates Martin and, after an incident when they are both at Cambridge together, the privileged Fitzmaurice family accept him as one of the family.The Party of the title is Ben's 40th where the lives of Martin and Ben unravel. The ending was for me unexpected but thinking back is exactly right, knowing Martin's character so well by then. The Party is a gripping and fast paced read although I felt some of the characters were rather cliched but this didn't spoil the otherwise excellent writing. I highly recommend this to other readers. Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins/ Fourth Estate for the opportunity to read and review The Party.
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  • Irene
    June 14, 2017
    A tale of hangers on, sycophancy and unrequited love. Martin knows his life will change the moment he steps on the train en route to boarding school. He's right, it does when he meets the charismatic Ben who is everything he is not with his privileged background. Interspersed with the past there's a police interview after an incident at a party at Ben's home. This was a great story, told well despite the characters being very unlikeable - all of them. Some might have looked nice on the outside b A tale of hangers on, sycophancy and unrequited love. Martin knows his life will change the moment he steps on the train en route to boarding school. He's right, it does when he meets the charismatic Ben who is everything he is not with his privileged background. Interspersed with the past there's a police interview after an incident at a party at Ben's home. This was a great story, told well despite the characters being very unlikeable - all of them. Some might have looked nice on the outside but inside, where it matters, they were really very ugly. Wealthy and privileged they might be, but nice? - not at all, with their sense of self entitlement. This book is dark and comical in turns and I enjoyed every single page! I was given this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Vnunez-Ms_luv2read
    July 9, 2017
    When we start "The Party"we are in a police station with Martin and his wife Lucy being questioned. We know something has happened, but not what. As we continue reading we meet Ben and Serena who's house the party had taken place. As we continue reading we learn about secrets, friendship and ambition. This book is very well written, interesting and good. The characters are very well written. You actually will develop certain feelings for the characters. Lucy was my favorite. If you are looking f When we start "The Party"we are in a police station with Martin and his wife Lucy being questioned. We know something has happened, but not what. As we continue reading we meet Ben and Serena who's house the party had taken place. As we continue reading we learn about secrets, friendship and ambition. This book is very well written, interesting and good. The characters are very well written. You actually will develop certain feelings for the characters. Lucy was my favorite. If you are looking for a good read, try this book. You will not be disappointed. Thanks to NetGalley,the author and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book in return for my honest review.
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  • Linda Epach
    July 26, 2017
    The Party by Elizabeth Day starts with Martin Gilmour being questioned by the police and then the story is told in a series of flashbacks thru out the years. Martin is a scholarship boy finally having some success as a man but still forever in the shadow of his best friend the wealthy and connected Ben Fitzmaurice. It is Ben's extravagant 40th bday party and Martin is again feeling he is on the outside looking in, jealous of Ben's wealth, house, wife, family, etc, Martin's poor wife Lucy is the The Party by Elizabeth Day starts with Martin Gilmour being questioned by the police and then the story is told in a series of flashbacks thru out the years. Martin is a scholarship boy finally having some success as a man but still forever in the shadow of his best friend the wealthy and connected Ben Fitzmaurice. It is Ben's extravagant 40th bday party and Martin is again feeling he is on the outside looking in, jealous of Ben's wealth, house, wife, family, etc, Martin's poor wife Lucy is the only really likeable character in this book and she really made me dislike Martin. The bok was a well written look into the Upper class Englishman and it was not a pretty picture.
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  • I Read, Therefore I Blog
    July 30, 2017
    Elizabeth Day's literary thriller is a state of the nation look at power and privilege in modern Britain which marries THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY with BRIDESHEAD REVISITED but while there's some sharp descriptive writing on show here, the twists are obvious, the rich characters little more than Bullingdon stereotypes, it's not clear just what makes Ben so special and ultimately Martin comes across as needy and gullible and unsympathetic.
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  • Anne
    June 30, 2017
    Got this great summer read from NetGalley and read it in literally one day. Fun plot, great story, a ripping page-turner. Perhaps a bit clichéd here and there but enjoyable nonetheless. Written in several voices at different times, it is easy to keep track of the story.
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  • Hayley Gullen
    July 30, 2017
    This is well written and the characters were well drawn. However, it felt like a story I've read before, and didn't feel particularly original. I didn't find the ending particularly convincing, either.
  • Adam Bricker
    July 13, 2017
    A wonderfully suspenseful and disturbing tale of obsession and prowess. The author paints a very descriptive environment that lends gravity to the story and depth to the multi-layered level of unrequited affections/love. A dark romance with glints of hope that is well worth the read!
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  • Kehinde Brown
    July 28, 2017
    I enjoy Elizabeth Day's writing and this new offering didn't disappoint.This modern tale is an enjoyable and thrilling take on class which will keep you gripped.
  • Siobhan
    March 24, 2017
    The Party is a dark and clever novel about privilege, obsession, and the immovable establishment in British society. Martin Gilmour went to school and university with the rich Ben Fitzmaurice and became an accepted part of his best friend’s family, but a secret in their past and their precarious relationship in the present threatens to blow apart this friendship forever and reveal that Martin was never really a part of the world he thought he had ascended to. Day’s novel exposes hypocrisy and li The Party is a dark and clever novel about privilege, obsession, and the immovable establishment in British society. Martin Gilmour went to school and university with the rich Ben Fitzmaurice and became an accepted part of his best friend’s family, but a secret in their past and their precarious relationship in the present threatens to blow apart this friendship forever and reveal that Martin was never really a part of the world he thought he had ascended to. Day’s novel exposes hypocrisy and lies in the upper classes, but also the frailty and delusion of human relationships, as Martin and his wife Lucy recount events in the past and present.The narrative style of The Party is gripping, jumping between time in a flashback style whilst Day carefully controls how much information is given. The plot centres around a party that Ben holds for his 40th birthday and how this causes Martin to look back at the past and consider their secrets. It is a classic structure that allows a slow reveal of the past, tense as it becomes clear that this is not a simple case of boyhood friendship continued into adulthood. Martin is painted as an outsider, someone who learnt how to fit in through his relationship with Ben, leaving him reliant on his best friend, but it is clear to outsiders that this is not as simple as Martin might claim. He is an unreliable narrator and through this Day shows his obsession and how this could teeter on the edge of revenge. The other characters are less notably presented, often because Martin does not describe them objectively, but this gives the reader a sense that a lot is being covered up or rewritten.The Party is a timely novel, poking fun at public school and Oxbridge educated, everything handed to them on a plate politicians as well as the institutions which allows those rich enough to get away with anyway. It is also a very enjoyable read for anybody who enjoys novels about the dark side of privilege and characters who get themselves into that world, but at a price.
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