The Party - Elizabeth Day

Imagine David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the WORST posh boys from your University in red chinos all in the same room. That's the reality of Elizabeth Day's 'The Party', and what a reality it is...

Let's have the blurb, shall we?
Martin Gilmour is an outsider. When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn't wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent. But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world. Soon Ben becomes the brother he never had.

But Martin has a secret. He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell. It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of twenty-five years.

At Ben's 40th birthday party, the cream of British society is gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests - the politicians, the celebrities, th sold money and the newly rich - Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not quite belonging. His wife Lucy has her reservations, too. There is disquiet in the air.

But Ben wouldn't do anything to damage their friendship. Would he?

The Blonde Bookworm Review:
Elizabeth Day's latest novel begins in a police station, and takes the reader on a journey from the illusive party that leads protagonist Martin to the arms of the law, to Cambridge, to private schools, to teenage awkwardness and the rich and beautiful.

As we weave between Martin's memory, the reader is able to piece together the attributes of Martin's character pretty quickly. He's awkward in his own skin, never really sure where he belongs, but he knows that he belongs with Ben Fitzmaurice, the charming posh boy that takes Martin under his wing at boarding school, and they're inseparable every since. Martin's sense of desperation to please Ben is a theme throughout his teenage years to the very day of the party, with an underwhelming lure of secret passion that clearly comes through from the very first description of the men's friendship.

Whilst the novel focuses on the past of Martin, and the secret between himself and Ben that is the catalyst for the explosive events that occur, the real hero of the novel is Martin's suffering wife Lucy. The novel turns to Lucy for parts of the story, offering her perspective into the man she married, the man she loved, and the man who was a constant third party to their relationship.

Her refreshing honesty and touch of reality brings the reader back to earth, as it is easy to get swept up in the world of 'mates', endless trust funds and signet rings that Day explains within the pages of 'The Party'. It reminds us that there are consequences for our actions, however for some, it can be wiped away with a credit card. Her humour and sarcasm bring a touch of reality to the scenarios, which was light relief with the tension otherwise weighing down the novel.

Class is a huge factor throughout the book, with Martin never quite sure if he really belongs amongst the wealthy, with many of the blue blooded boys smelling his council estate upbringing as soon as he walks through the door. They say fake it until you make it, but in Martin's case, this has truly awful consequences.

How the other half live, and Day gives us a sneak peek into the disgraceful lives of the upper class in a riveting way that truly left me unable to put my book down.

Read if you...
loved 'The Riot Club', aren't a massive fun of right wing politics or the class issues in Britain, and love a scandal.


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