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Summary

A gripping story of obsession and betrayal, privilege and hypocrisy, set in the unassailable heart of the British establishment. 

"As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation. Because, although I didn't know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again."

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 Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family's estate, as 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 25 years. 

At Ben's 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and 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? 

©2017 Elizabeth Day (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Witty, dark and compelling." (Sebastian Faulks)
"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." (Pheobe Waller-Bridge)
"Superb - clever, gripping, psychologically acute." (Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us)

What listeners say about The Party

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Party

I did like this book and it did flow along at a nice pace but the twist was minor and the big reveal was obvious. On saying this though I loved the different characters and what each brought to the plot. The narration was spot on.

Briefly it's about two couples who come from different ends of the financial spectrum. The men have known one another since school and each - in my view - kind of depend on the other. The rich couple hold a party where something happens and that's where the novel starts. The story is told through the poorer couple's perspective and regularly hops between time frames.

A short novel - for me, and worth a credit. Don't know if I would read anything else by the author at the moment.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Engleby + Talented Mr Ripley

It's Engleby + Talented Mr Ripley divided by about 5.

Even divided by 5, it's not that awful. Just not in the same class as its parents.

Starts quite promisingly, but rather downhill from there.

5 people found this helpful

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The Party of the Year...

After listening to some 5 star reviewed rubbish, this was a breath of fresh air. Here is an author who knows their craft, a well put together novel with believable characters... and not a predictable ending in sight.

Highly recommended!

6 people found this helpful

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An enjoyable listen

I liked large parts of this book and it kept me going to the end, so my feelings are generally positive. The author goes in far to much to analysing Martin and Lucy's characters, that I was left faily unsympathetic with the pair of them by the end of the book. Parts could have been cut out and the lead up sometimes becomes a bit long winded.

1 person found this helpful

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The Party

What does Greg Wagland and Stephanie Racine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The performances of both speakers was excellent. They really helped encapsulate the world of the posh and wealthy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The internal struggle of Martin and his need to fit in, to be part of this wealthy lifestyle and ultimately to be loved by the man he had worshiped since school is really moving.

Any additional comments?

A great listen, Elizabeth Day is a is fantastic writer. The book is dark, witty and exciting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jb
  • 12-06-22

Neutral

I can't say I particularly enjoyed this book, I can't tell if the narration or the way the main character was written that made it seem stiff and uncomfortable. I felt like it went into a lot of unnecessary detail in places which detracted from the story. I only listened to the end to see what happened and was a bit disappointed; the story seemed kind of familiar and the overall twist/outcome unsurprising.

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ever listened to paint drying?

I dont know why I carried on listening!
Everything described in setting but no real story. I even hoped for an uplift at the end.
wish I hadn't wasted my time

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no life is one dimensional

great story, had to keep listening. device of 2 narrators very effective and credible.

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hated everyone

characters are forgettable and non likeable. boring creepy story with a very predictable ending

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Well narrated but underwhelming

An interesting concept and a good examination of privilege and a longing to fit in. Not a book to make me want to seek out more of the author's work but very well drawn characters and a look at how things are done in our class conscious society.