The Party by Elizabeth Day

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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, 2017

Little, Brown and Company

 

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