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The Party: The thrilling Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2018 Paperback – 5 Apr 2018
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‘I practically murdered this book in an evening I loved it so much. The Party is a terrifying, hilarious, brilliantly written original with a wit to die for’ Phoebe Waller-Bridge
‘An exhilarating and gripping psychological thriller about obsession, betrayal, jealousy and class distinctions. Elizabeth Day’s writing is impeccable, suspenseful and clever. I couldn’t put this down!’ Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
‘Superb – clever, gripping, psychologically acute’ Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us
‘What will probably be my book of the year … I loved it’ Sinead Crowley, Irish Independent
'Fast out of the traps, compelling and infinitely believable: but what really got me about The Party was the writing. Stunning' Susie Steiner, author of Missing, Presumed
‘A well-paced slow-burner of a literary thriller – think Donna Tartt’s The Secret History or Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty… The Party is a gripping page-turner’ Observer
‘Devious, witty, thrilling' Refinery 29
‘Skilfully constructed, suspenseful narrative … It’s a smart, wittily written riff on class, privilege and power’ Mail on Sunday
‘Echoes of The Secret History and The Talented Mr Ripley thrum through Elizabeth Day’s pacey fourth novel… jolly fun’ Sunday Times
'A sharp, stylish and witty as the perfect guest. Beware: you'll be up far too late’ Lucie Whitehouse, author of Before We Met
‘Elizabeth Day's latest novel is sinister and seductive and nothing short of breathtaking’ Francesca Seagal, author of The Innocents
‘This is a dark and compelling book of lifelong obsessions, jealousies and neuroses … I left this book wanting to read more of Day’s other work’ Guardian
‘I can’t recommend it highly enough’ Aine Toner, Women’s Way
‘The Party is a compelling read, but it’s a lot more than a page turner… We may have seen a hundred stories like this on the news, but Elizabeth Day’s perfectly pitched dialogue and vivid prose brings it all to life’ Catherine Chanter, author of The Well
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Saying that, there is some lovely writing and some very interesting exploration of character. There are some great moments where all you can do is cringe at Martins sycophancy. Lucy was far and away the most engaging character and I would have loved about 100% more of her. But I think there was a failure to dig into Ben's emotions at having Martin chained to him for so many years. The ending was as flat as a pancake, very much a literary ending as opposed to a thriller one.
So if your a fan of the thriller genre, avoid, this will just frustrate you. If you want an exploration of relationships, friendship and character you may enjoy it more.
Now, obviously, not every book is a thriller nor has to be thrilling, and the author can't be held to account for how her publishers chose to promote this book. However, what she can be held to account for is writing what is clearly supposed to be a 'thriller' and then not following through on that in terms of plot.
This is a decent enough exploration of the relationship between two men and, to a lesser extent, their spouses, and there are some very clever, very well done looks at the same situation from two different perspectives, but there's not enough of that to call it a literary novel, and I don't believe it's supposed to be that. Instead we're led through the plot and interest is (initially) maintained through the devices a thriller writer uses.
Unfortunately, about halfway through, as the plot begins drifting instead of tightening, a nagging doubt begins to appear that there may not be many thrills in store at all. Right up until the final 5% I thought there might at least be a little twist at the end that's led to the positive reviews. There's not. The book fizzles out rather pathetically. (Even the ending I'd thought looked most likely but probably not true because it's a bit too obvious / not exciting enough turned out to be ten times better than what actually transpires.)
Greatly disappointing given the initial promise.