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The Shooting Party (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Isabel Colegate , Julian Fellowes
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Jan 2007 Penguin Modern Classics
It is 1913 - just prior to England's entry into World War I - and Edwardian England is about to vanish into history. A group of men and women gather at Sir Randolph Nettleby's estate for a shooting party. Opulent, adulterous, moving assuredly through the rituals of eating and slaughter, they are a dazzlingly obtuse and brilliantly decorative finale of an era.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (4 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188676
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Isabel Colegate is the acclaimed author of many bestselling books including THE SHOOTING PARTY, THE ORLANDO TRILOGY, THE SUMMER OF THE ROYAL VISIT and most recently, WINTER JOURNEY.

Julian Fellowes was an actor for over twenty years before winning the Academy Award for Writing Original in 2001 for Gosford Park . His novel Snobs was published in 2004.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It caused a mild scandal at the time, but in most people's memories it was quite outshone by what succeeded it. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An affectionate filleting of aristocratic mores 20 Jun 2010
By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The Shooting Party is the story of a day's shooting at the estate of Sir Randolph Nettleby in 1913. On the surface it is a world of politeness and gentility, but below this veneer, individuality, competitiveness and adulterous lust seethe and eventually lead to the tragic conclusion of the novel.

Colegate expertly fillets the weaknesses of the society she represents, the loveless marriages for economic or social benefit, the adherence to meaningless ritual, the dishonest valuing of amateurism over professionalism. The book however is very much a social rather than an economic or political criticism. Colegate dissects the society she portrays but does not challenge its structure or the inequality on which it is based. In fact through Sir Randolph she is gently supportive of a paternalistic feudal society.

The book can also be read as a precursor of what was to come, both at the time of its setting and of its writing. The mass and indiscrimnate slaughter of the birds clearly anticipates the impending first world war, but also the conflict between paternalism and individuality is suggestive of the beginnings of Thatcherism at the time of writing.

The book is beautifully, precisely written, including a breathtakingly good opening paragraph and in writing characters with whom she is familiar, colegate provides depth and subtlety. She is less successful in her depiction of the non-aristocratic characters, with the animal rights supporting socialist, Cardew, being a particularly ridiculous, 2 dimensional creation.

I cannot finish this review without a word on the introduction by Julian Fellowes. While Colegate adopts a position sympathetic to, if critical of, the aristocracy and then writes honestly, and without polemic, Fellowes is just ridiculous.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of precision. 20 Oct 2002
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This novel will thrill readers who admire careful, precise writing. Like a jeweler, Colegate has polished her prose till it sparkles, avoiding pretension, excess verbiage, and empty lyricism, choosing, instead, words full of inference and irony, feeling and attitude. Broad themes, historical perspective, and a plot which contains a large cast of individualized characters from all levels of society come alive here in a mere two hundred pages.
Setting the novel in the autumn of 1913, before the outbreak of World War I, Colegate establishes her themes in the first paragraph, asking the reader to imagine an Edwardian drawing room of a country estate, with gas lamps, a log fire, and people from a long time ago, sitting and standing in groups. In the room beyond, a "fierce electric light" shines forth, overpowering the quiet, lamplit room, making it seem shadowy and the people like "beings from a much remoter past." The gentry in this snapshot are not nave. Even they recognize that "an age, perhaps a civilization, is coming to an end," as industrialization and urbanization are changing the centers of power, and a war looms.
A lively cast of characters is invited to Sir Randolph Nettleby's 1000-acre park for a weekend shoot, and as they converse and interact, they quickly become individualized, the reader learning of their attitudes and prejudices, their understanding of the code of behavior, and the details of their very "civilized" lives. When the shoot begins and the beaters send the birds into the air, the symbolic parallels between the world as it has been, the world as it will be during the coming war, and the world as it may be after the war become obvious to the reader, and the death of one of the characters is not a surprise.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of precision. 3 Feb 2008
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Readers who admire careful, precise writing will thrill at Colegate's prose, which is so polished it sparkles here, avoiding pretension, excess verbiage, and empty lyricism. Instead, Colegate chooses words full of inference and irony, feeling and attitude. Broad themes, historical perspective, and a plot which contains a large cast of individualized characters from all levels of society come alive here in a mere two hundred pages.

Setting the novel in the autumn of 1913, before the outbreak of World War I, Colegate establishes her themes in the first paragraph, asking the reader to imagine an Edwardian drawing room of a country estate, with gas lamps, a log fire, and people from a long time ago, sitting and standing in groups. In the room beyond, a "fierce electric light" shines forth, overpowering the quiet, lamplit room, making it seem shadowy and the people like "beings from a much remoter past." The gentry in this snapshot are not nave. Even they recognize that "an age, perhaps a civilization, is coming to an end," as industrialization and urbanization are changing the centers of power, and a war looms.

A lively cast of characters is invited to Sir Randolph Nettleby's 1000-acre park for a weekend shoot, and as they converse and interact, they quickly become individualized, the reader learning of their attitudes and prejudices, their understanding of the code of behavior, and the details of their very "civilized" lives. When the shoot begins and the beaters send the birds into the air, the symbolic parallels between the world as it has been, the world as it will be during the coming war, and the world as it may be after the war become obvious to the reader, and the death of one of the characters is not a surprise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia without the sentimentality
Wonderfully evocative andbeautifully written without the usual snobbery, much more authentic than most such books, deals with the poverty and problems of the time as well as the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by janecaldwell
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shooting Party
This novel represented a challenge to my reading group because of the form of its composition. They loved its descriptive passages and dialogue.
Published 14 months ago by Pamela
1.0 out of 5 stars such a slow read
I have started reading the shooting party for my english ALevel and have found it difficult to struggle through this horrendously slow book, normally I love pre world war dramas... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Y. Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shooting Party
This is a book which evokes certain aspects of aristocratic and rural society in the last year before the outbreak of the First World War. A way of life is certain to change. Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by A. P. Thomas
3.0 out of 5 stars Didactic
A novel I was long ago recommended by a friend who loved it. But, I'm afraid, I found it tedious. The author seemed to spend so much effort teaching the reader about the world the... Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by J. E. S. Leake
2.0 out of 5 stars the shooting party
very disappointing I expected more from Julian Fellows did not realise he only wrote the preface. I found the rest of the book tedious.
Published on 21 Dec 2011 by gloria
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shooting Party
Set in 1913, this wonderful novel takes part during 24 hours in a shooting party at Nettleby Park, home of Sir Randolph Nettleby, a Baronet and country gentlemen. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2011 by S Riaz
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich and satisfying novel
In Colegate's 1980 novel a shooting party is being held at Sir Randolph Nettleby's Oxfordshire estate in the autumn before the First World War. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2011 by Eleanor
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves its classic status
Appropriately enough, this Penguin Modern Classics edition comes with an introduction by Julian Fellowes - Colegate's Shooting Party was an inspiration for both Gosford Park and... Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2011 by Phil Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars books
Its good to get a product at a fair price and not be ripped off like some companies. great value, good price, good service.
Published on 16 Sep 2011 by The hawk
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