Monday, November 6, 2017

The Party

Book: The Party
Author: Elizabeth Day

Ben, who hails from old money, and Martin, who grew up poor but is slowly carving out a successful career as an art critic, have been inseparable since childhood. Ben's wife Serena likes to jokingly refer to Martin as Ben's dutiful Little Shadow.

Lucy is a devoted wife to Martin, even as she knows she'll always be second best to his sacred friendship. When Ben throws a lavish 40th birthday party as his new palatial country home, Martin and Lucy attend, mixing with the very upper echelons of London society.

But why, the next morning, is Martin in a police station being interviewed about the events of last night? Why is Lucy being forced to answer questions about his husband and his past? What exactly happened at the party? And what has bound these two very different men together for so many years?

A cleverly built tour of intrigue, THE PARTY reads like a novelistic board game of Clue, taking us through the various half-truths and lies its characters weave, as the past and present collide in a way that its protagonists could never have anticipated. -Goodreads

Review: Told in alternating narratives and timelines, we follow Martin as a young man in school and college, Martin as he is interviewed by the police, his wife Lucy who is speaking to a therapist and both of them as they attend a 'party' that occurred several weeks ago. 

Martin is an only child who has never fit in. When he's sent to boarding school, he's enamored with Ben, who is rich and popular. Martin befriends Ben and weasels his way into his life as the boys get older. He eventually ingrains himself into Ben's wealthy family. Martin is not a character anyone will particularly like. He reminded me of the Matt Damon character from The Talented Mr. Ripley (it was inconceivable to me that Ben would have ever taken him home for the holidays). Martin's big "secret" was not shocking in the least and the events tying the boys together was not difficult to figure out. The event at the party leading to the police investigation was rather anticlimactic. I did enjoy Lucy's sections which explained how and why she married Martin and how she was much more observant than he thought. 

Overall-while I despised Martin and the 'twists and turns' were not shocking, I liked how the book was constructed and I really enjoyed Lucy's narrative. 

Grade: 3/5

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