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The Party

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  11,414 ratings  ·  724 reviews

A gripping story of obsession and betrayal, privilege and hypocrisy, set in the unassailable heart of the British establishment.

‘Witty, dark and compelling’ Sebastian Faulks

‘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 t

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Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published July 13th 2017 by Fourth Estate
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,414 ratings  ·  724 reviews


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Elyse Walters
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was spellbinding —�the plot was compulsively stimulating - interesting and captivating!!!! It drew me in with a magnetic force.
Readers who might have read - and enjoyed “Seating Arrangements”,by Maggie Shipstead, or any of Herman Koch books -should feel at home with Elizabeth Day’s “The Party”.....who by the way writes some of the most interesting observations about people ( her characters) that I’ve ever come across.
Who notices - and writes about the flesh between a person
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Julie
The Party by Elizabeth Day is a 2017 Fourth Estate publication.

A Wickedly dark and satirical tale of obsession, misplaced loyalties, and class distinctions.

This book drew me in right away and held me in enthralled suspense from start to finish. The story revolves around Martin and Lucy, a married couple invited to a birthday party for Martin’s best friend, Ben.

It becomes immediately obvious that something sinister occurs at the party, something awful enough to capture the attention of the pol
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Julie
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Party by Elizabeth Day is a 2017 Fourth Estate publication.

A Wickedly dark and satirical tale of obsession, misplaced loyalties, and class distinctions.

This book drew me in right away and held me in enthralled suspense from start to finish. The story revolves around Martin and Lucy, a married couple invited to a birthday party for Martin’s best friend, Ben.

It becomes immediately obvious that something sinister occurs at the party, something awful enough to capture the attention of the pol
...more
Dem
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub-reads
Elizabeth Day’s first novel, Scissors, Paper, Stone which I really enjoyed won a Betty Trask award So I was really looking forward to her latest book and when I saw it compared to The Dinner by Herman Koch I was really excited about the read.

The Party starts at the end of a story that began in public school some 30 years previously when we meet Martin Gilmour an outsider who wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right attire or speak with the right kind of accent but then
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Blair
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
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Susan
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tooter
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 5 ⭐read. I'm on a roll! Thanks to Elyse for recommending this book. ...more
Jen
May 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Personally I am not a fan of books that draw out the reveal of an incident that isn't particularly serious or life threatening.

The characters in the book were a unique blend and being set around the upper class of British society was.... good enough. However I couldn't work out if the author was writing from a place of anger or envy as the main character himself was never quite clear on the point.

Martin - the protagonist was interesting in his slightly creepy devotion, but it would have been nic
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Michelle
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a fantastic story!

This is the story of Martin and his best friend and school chum Ben. We have alternating chapters between Martin & Ben's school days, the night of The Party, Lucy (Martin's wife) journal entries, and Martin being questioned at the police dept. You know that something terrible has happened at the party but Elizabeth Day slowly lays out the puzzle pieces for you to follow and follow you will. I couldn't stop turning the pages.

I won't deny that Martin is a bit of a
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Casey Frank
2.5 Stars rounded up
There 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
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Chloe Fowler
Sep 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was this pastiche? Or was it just bad? Either way, I'm not bothered as what it was, frankly, was a waste of time. I didn't like the thinly veiled references to real people (just change a letter in the name, they'll never know!). I didn't like the whole closet gay turns out to be snidey horrible man thing. I didn't like the pointless 'suspense' plot that was neither deft nor actually suspenseful. Come to think of it, I didn't like anything. Except finishing it.
LeeAnne
Descriptive similes and metaphors, but slow and flat.

Warning: There are two very graphic, gratuitous descriptions of animal cruelty in this book. I jumped past both of them.

Critics are raving about this book, comparing this to the brilliant classic, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Yes, they have some similar themes: Popularity vs Outcast, Old money vs disadvantaged poor, privilege, unrequited love, identity, and sociopaths. Both books are dark, psychological suspense novels. But the writing here is n
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Alice Caryer
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this very quickly and it was mildly enjoyable but I found myself expecting a twist or something *big* to happen and it never did. I also hated all the characters, which I assume was intentional on the author's behalf but it meant I just didn't care about the ending (and the ending was pretty unsatisfactory anyway).
Suanne Laqueur
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeesh, I feel kind of filthy. A book with a sociopathic narrator will do that. (Shudder)
Bandit
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Faith
This book begins with the police interrogation of 39-year-old Martin. Apparently there has been some violent incident at the 40th birthday party of Martin's old school friend Ben who comes from a wealthy family. Martin is married to Lucy, but his primary relationship is with Ben. It's a relationship comprised of longing and envy on Martin's part, and camaraderie and disdain on Ben's part. The relationships of Martin/Ben and Martin/Lucy are told in lengthy flashbacks from the points of view of Ma ...more
Jill Meyer
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a reader of fiction, does it bother you to read a book with unpleasant characters? Characters who verge on the edge of caricature? In British author Elizabeth Day's novel, "The Party", her four main characters, Martin, Ben, Lucy, and Serena, are all people we've seen before. Martin is the poor, shy boy in love with the charismatic rich boy, Ben, and has been his "Little Shadow" since boarding school, through Cambridge, and into London society. Serena is Ben's blonde, vacant wife, while Lucy i ...more
Olive (abookolive)
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic
See my ~tipsy~ review on booktube: https://youtu.be/H5QHeIyx3_0
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Patricia Kaiser
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book I've read in a while! I love how the story jumps back and forth in time giving you only little pieces of the big picture at a time. The beginning was pretty slow but well told, after about 150 pages it picks up pace and now that I finished it I can't believe that this is how it ends! Such an amzing novel!
Mandy
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The real problem with this novel of obsession, friendship, power and privilege is that it’s all been done before, and it all felt very derivative. It’s not badly written – although there are rather too many clichés for my liking – and it’s well-paced, even if the framing device feels hackneyed, but it adds very little to the rather banal trope of a poor but clever misfit who desperately wants to fit in with the rich and privileged, and falls in love with the rather shallow object of his desire, ...more
Sean
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As subtle as a car wreck, this novel which purports to be about social class in Britain builds to a climax and then fizzles. The male characters are thin cut-outs, and the male protagonist is a closeted gay man who is a stereotypical type I associate with fiction of a generation ago. The cut-glass characters of this novel reflect more on the author than the people or social class she is trying to portray. I have not read a novel which has as little understanding of the human condition as this on ...more
Phee
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Definitely an interesting one. Kept me guessing and had some exquisite characters. I'm not really in the best mindset to write reviews at the moment. But I might come back to this and write something at some point.
Lou
Martin Gilmour, a character in this tale is a writer, a critic of sorts, had some small success and reputation with a work ‘Art: Who Gives a F***?’
Almost to the unknowing eye he seemed normal but within he has an obsession he has spent his youth trying to reinvent himself and he finds one soul who’s popular but one that he can never be.
The tale, psychologically eery and unsettling at times, takes you through in first person narrative in his minds eye. If there was one scene that would turn you o
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Jenks
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

When I read the reviews for this I wonder if I was reading the same novel as everyone else ?

I mean what happened ? I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone so I am purposely keeping the review vague in terms of plot details. But I felt like what was the point I read it as quick as poss to get it over with and move on to an interesting book. The plot just flounders for a few hundred pages and came to a halt. Boring uninteresting characters .

I honestly can’t recommend this book and if I’m ask a
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Brandi
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 :(
Anne
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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Ailsa
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how much I enjoyed this. The ~reveal~ was disappointing, (view spoiler), everyone was kind of annoying. I know they live in a different world but is being gay seriously so shameful? Martin is an art critic for god's sake, I reckon there's more than a few other gays in the village.
Thebooktrail
Set firmly in the academic background of Cambridge, this is a novel about the class system, the hierarchy at university and the struggles and jealously that can last many years after their uni days.

This has vibes of the Great Gatsby, Brideshead Revisited and Donna Tartt. Ben is the student they all seem to love and idolise. He has invited people from uni to his house for a party but they can’s stay there for some reason. This creates tension and we learn about the tricky relationships that have
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Anouk
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt like a combination of books I have already read
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Elizabeth Day is an English journalist, broadcaster and novelist. She was a feature writer for The Observer from 2007 to 2016 and has written four novels.
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“One half of the table was arguing with the other half about the rights and wrongs of the Iraq war, in that semi-detached, earnest way that moneyed people do, always safe in the knowledge no political outcome will really affect them.” 3 likes
“That’s the problem with charm. It means you get away with stuff. It means you never have to develop a real character because no one remembers to look for one. They’re too busy basking in the glow of your attention. They’re too busy being impressed.” 2 likes
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