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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 members say

Average customer ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • Aberdeenshire
  • 21-08-17

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wasted opportunity

Depressing, facile, voyeuristic, corrupting, familiar seial violence, dull, deeply disappointing, unfinished, unrewarding, learned nothing. Language out of kilter with period in which set in places.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • LVW
  • London
  • 24-08-17

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

Intriguing mystery unfolds along with the unravelling of two very interesting characters. Couldn't stop listening! Brilliantly read by two outstanding actors. Really enjoyed it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Intelligent and well written I think. But I was bored

If someone is killing animals in a story I’m always immediately turned off. That was a TINY part of it but still, the damage was done

Also, I think the device of characters killing animals in character development is unnecessary

Not a surprising plot line. Not unlike anything I’ve seen or read before.

But, Elizabeth day has some beautiful turns of phrase. Her descriptions of physical and character quirks and mannerisms are on pointe!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I had read great reviews for this book and was looking forward to reading it, but unfortunately I found the storyline as interesting as the main character.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brill..

This book i got on audible listening, and could not stop listening ... Very enjoyable and very readable..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Milly
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 15-08-18

Brilliant but disturbing

This really got under my skin. It is very dark, but absolutely gripping, the writing and performances are both excellent.