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“Day’s shrewd eye and authorial tone provide a gleeful, edgy wit…. [a] smart, irresistible romp.”-New York Times Book Review
Ben, who hails from old money, and Martin, who grew up poor but is slowly carving out a successful career as an art critic, have been inseparable since childhood. Ben’s wife Serena likes to jokingly refer to Martin as Ben’s dutiful Little Shadow.
Lucy is a devoted wife to Martin, even as she knows she’ll always be second best to his sacred friendship. When Ben throws a lavish 40th birthday party as his new palatial country home, Martin and Lucy attend, mixing with the very upper echelons of London society.
But why, the next morning, is Martin in a police station being interviewed about the events of last night? Why is Lucy being forced to answer questions about his husband and his past? What exactly happened at the party? And what has bound these two very different men together for so many years?
A cleverly built tour of intrigue, The Party reads like a novelistic board game of Clue, taking us through the various half-truths and lies its characters weave, as the past and present collide in a way that its protagonists could never have anticipated.
1. a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking and entertainment.
2. a formally constituted political group that contests elections and attempts to form or take part in a government, e.g. ‘faction’, e.g. ‘the party’s election manifesto’.
3. a person or people forming one side in an agreement or dispute, e.g. ‘the guilty party’.
THE INTERVIEW ROOM IS SMALL AND SQUARE. A table, three plastic chairs, a high frosted window, the glass grimy with dust, strip lighting; our faces cast in dingy yellow shadow.
Two cups of tea: one for the female police officer, one for me. White with two sugars. Too much milk, but I’m not in a position to complain. The rim of my cup is patterned with indentations where, a few minutes previously, I bit into the polystyrene.
The walls are off-white. They remind me of the squash courts at the RAC on Pall Mall where, just a few days ago, I demolished an opponent who was several positions ahead of me in the club rankings. He was a banker. Florid face. Baggy shorts. Surprisingly lean thigh muscles. I dispatched him fairly swiftly: serve, slice, smash. The rubber thwack of the ball as it pinged into concrete, a dark green full stop at the end of each rally. Grunting. Swearing. Eventual defeat. Aggression contained within four walls.
The police station has a similar feel: a sort of bristling masculinity even though only one of the two officers interviewing me is male. The woman has clearly been designated ‘good cop’. It was she who offered me the tea, said it would be beneficial. She also suggested two sugars.
‘You know,’ she added, meeting my gaze, ‘after the shock.’
It’s true, I hadn’t expected the police to turn up on my doorstep this morning. It’s only the second time in my thirty-nine years that I have found myself interviewed by the authorities. On both occasions, it has been because of Ben. Which is odd, really, given that he’s my best friend. You’d expect best friends to take better care of each other.
The female police officer is short with rounded shoulders and a pleasant, freckled face. Her hair has been dyed that indeterminate colour inexplicably beloved of middle-aged women, which is neither brown nor blonde but somewhere in between. A kind of beige. Brittle at the ends.
Her colleague is tall. One of those men whose height is his defining feature. He stooped when he walked through the door, holding a sheaf of papers in hands the colour of supermarket ham. Grey suit with a white mark on the lapel. Toothpaste, perhaps. Or the left-behind smear of a baby’s breakfast. He is, I’d guess, in his early thirties.
The two of them sit across the table from me, backs to the door. The chairs have moulded seats with letterbox apertures in the back. We used to stack these chairs for school assemblies and end-of-term concerts at Burtonbury. A lifetime ago, and yet no time at all. Sometimes it seems as close as the next minute. Pencil shavings and plimsoll rubber, the scuffed mark of a trainer against the classroom skirting board. Dormitories with sagging beds. The creak of a spring as a boy shifted in his sleep. That constant feeling of unease. That was before I met Ben, of course. Before he saved me from myself. We’ve been saving each other ever since.
On the table, to one side, is a large tape-recording machine. Too big, really. I find myself wondering why it has to be so big. Or why, indeed, the police still insist on using cassette tapes in this digitised era of sound-clouds and podcasts and iTunes.
I’ve declined a lawyer. Partly because I don’t want to fork out the necessary funds for a good one and I know, given the circumstances, Ben won’t pay and I refuse to get stuck with some snivel-nosed legal aid type who can’t distinguish his arse from his elbow. I don’t think Lucy’s parents will stump up either. After everything that’s happened, I suspect my in-laws might also be disinclined to help.
‘Right then,’ says the woman, hands clasped in front of her. Short nails, varnished with clear polish. A tiny ink stain on the fleshy part between thumb and index finger. ‘Shall we get started?’
‘By all means.’
Beige Hair presses a button on the giant recording machine. There is a long, loud bleep.
‘This interview is being tape-recorded at Tipworth Police Station, Eden Street, Tipworth. The date is 26 May 2015. The time is 2.20 p.m. I am Detective Constable Nicky Bridge.’
She glances at her colleague, who then identifies himself for the tape.
‘I am Detective Constable Kevin McPherson.’
‘Mr Gilmour,’ she says, looking at me, ‘would you introduce yourself with your full name and date of birth please?’
‘Martin Gilmour, 3 June 1975.’
‘Is it OK to call you Martin?’
She clears her throat. ‘You’ve been offered the services of a duty lawyer and declined – is that right, Martin?’
‘For the tape, please.’
There is a pause. Grey Suit shuffles his papers. His head is lowered. He does not look at me. I find this curiously disconcerting, the notion of not being worth his attention.
‘So, Martin,’ Beige Hair says. ‘Let’s begin at the beginning. Talk us through the events of the evening of 2 May. The party. You arrived before the other guests, is that right?’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Yes, we did.’
And then I start to tell them.
It begins with a door that wouldn’t open at the Tipworth Premier Inn.
Tipworth Premier Inn, 5.30 p.m.
‘I DON’T KNOW WHY they couldn’t have put us up in the house,’ Lucy said, slipping the plastic card key into place. ‘Not like they don’t have enough rooms.’
The light beneath the door handle flashed obstinately red. Lucy tried again, impatiently shoving the key into the slot and taking it out too quickly. I could see her getting annoyed but trying not to show it – that tell-tale flush across the back of her neck; the square set of her shoulders; a triangle of concentrated tongue just visible between her lips. I watched as she made several more clumsy attempts, my irritation rising. Who was it who said the definition of madness was doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results? Aristotle? Rousseau?
‘Here,’ I said, finally able to bear it no longer. ‘Let me.’
I took the plastic card, still sweaty from her fingers, and slid it into place, leaving it for a few seconds before smoothly removing it. The light went green. The door clicked open.
‘That’s exactly what I was doing,’ Lucy protested.
I smiled, patting her on the arm. There was a minute retraction in her pupils. Almost imperceptible.
‘Here we are, then,’ she said, too brightly.
We rolled our suitcases into the standard suite. Calling it a suite was optimistic. The floor space was almost entirely swallowed by twin beds. A reproduction of a bad watercolour depicting ladies on a beach hung skewed above the headboards. By the television, there was an electric kettle and a jam jar filled with teabags. Plastic packets of UHT creamer lay scattered around its base, as though some invisible milky tide had swept up and left them there like pebbles on a seashore.
Lucy immediately unwound the cable and took the kettle to the bathroom to fill it from the basin tap. It is the first thing she does on arriving anywhere. When we travel abroad, she will take a foil packet of English teabags with her.
I sat on the edge of the bed, feeling the friction of man-made fibres against my chinos, and slipped off my loafers. I checked my watch: 5.37 p.m. Ben wanted us at the house by 7 p.m. for pre-party drinks, so we had a little over an hour. I eased myself back onto the pillows and closed my eyes, hearing Lucy bustling around as she put on the kettle and unzipped her case, unfolding the swishy evening dress she had brought to wear and hanging it in the bathroom where, soon, I knew she would draw a hot bath in the hope that the creasing would magically erase itself in the steam.
These are the things you learn over the course of a marriage: other people’s habits. Those incrementally acquired ways of being: a gradual evolution from attractive quirk to something pointless, stupid, illogical, obsessive and finally maddening. It takes someone else to pick up on them, to be driven to the edge of sanity by their repeated appearance.
‘I mean, how many rooms do you think they have in their new mansion exactly?’
I ignored the question for a few seconds, hoping to fool her into thinking I was asleep.
‘I know you’re awake, Martin. I can tell. Your eyelids are flickering.’
For fuck’s sake.
‘Sorry,’ I said, and sat up. ‘I don’t know.’
‘Well I bet it’s plenty. And you’re his oldest friend, after all.’
The kettle boiled, sending a bloom of condensation halfway up the mirror.
‘Has something happened between you two?’
This was not strictly true but, at that stage, I didn’t feel she needed to know the particulars. It would have involved too much explanation and, to be honest, I didn’t have the energy. There were things my wife – my pliant, adoring little wife – would never understand about the bond between two men.
‘They’ve got loads of family staying,’ I said, unbuckling my trousers in preparation for getting changed. ‘Not just Ben’s but Serena’s lot too. I don’t think Ben wanted to inflict that on us.’
Lucy, a mug of tea in one hand, came over to me. She tilted her head. Moist brown eyes looked at me expectantly. A pulse beat in the purplish semi-circle beneath her left socket, as it always did when she was nervous. She placed her free hand tentatively on the small of my back. I could smell her tea-rose perfume. I used to find that fragrance deeply charming. It was, like Lucy, modest and unshowy. That night, it caught in my throat. Too sweet. Too soapy.
‘I’m sorry, I’m—’
Lucy dropped her head and withdrew her hand.
‘Of course,’ she said. She turned away. ‘Only…’ I could see her weighing up whether to say what was on her mind. ‘It’s been months.’
Not this again.
‘I’ve had a lot on my mind. The new book.’
I had just delivered a lengthy manuscript on post-Impressionism to my publishers. They hadn’t been especially enthused by the idea but my agent had talked them round. Pointed out that there was a major Manet retrospective coming up at the Tate and who better to write the definitive work on it than esteemed newspaper art critic Martin Gilmour? I had something of a reputation. My first book, Art: Who Gives a F**k?, published five years previously, had established me as an enfant terrible of the art world, the critic who dared to call out bullshit and say things as he truly saw them.
In truth, the contents were not particularly explosive. The title had been my agent’s idea. Credit where it’s due: it sold by the truckload. It became the kind of book people give their trendy friends at Christmas. I’ve seen it in the downstairs loo of some fantastically fashionable, architect-designed house (curtain walls and basement studies). I’m pretty sure no one actually read it from cover to cover. Apart from Lucy, that is. Lucy is loyal to a fault. Always has been.
We met thirteen years ago when I was working on the Bugle, London’s pre-eminent evening newspaper (although, admittedly, there was no competition at that stage. The free-sheets and the morning Metro only came along later). I had wangled myself a position as maternity leave cover for the deputy arts editor and Lucy was the desk secretary. In those days, you could still smoke in the office, something I did regularly and self-consciously, only too aware that when I took a drag on a cigarette my twenty-something cheekbones were highlighted becomingly to anyone who might be looking.
I didn’t notice Lucy for several weeks. She existed as a pleasant blur on the periphery of my vision. She was a plump, prettyish girl with owlish spectacles and shoulder-length brown hair that was neither straight nor curly but instead manifested itself unsatisfactorily in the liminal space between. Her hair, I would subsequently find out, was a source of constant frustration. The rain had only to glower threateningly from an unbroken grey cloud for it to start frizzing at the ends. On wet days, Lucy wore her hair up in a velvet scrunchie as the Duchess of York used to do. There always was something delightfully out of step about Lucy. She was in floaty florals when everyone else was in figure-hugging pencil skirts. She wore men’s brogues and had thick, sluggish eyebrows. She was of a different time. Part of her still is. I have never worked out which time, exactly. It could be that the one she belongs to hasn’t been invented yet.
Anyway, back then, Lucy hadn’t made much of an impression other than of being someone who answered the phone and said ‘hello’ when one walked into the office. Did the odd tea round. Once, I saw her return from her lunch break with her fingernails painted a glossy black and this had momentarily sparked my interest. More going on there than meets the eye, I thought. But then I forgot about it, turning back to my keyboard to bash out five hundred words of guff on the latest insufferably pretentious graduate show from Central Saint Martins or a Hollywood actress of negligible talent who had some hold over the newspaper’s proprietor.
It wasn’t until my second, or even third, month there that Lucy made any sort of lasting impact.
I had been asked by Ian, the section editor, to knock up a piece on the return of the ‘Great American Novelist’. There was some tenuous peg, I seem to recall – a debut by a muscular young author who had been hailed as the new Tom Wolfe. I had tried to farm out the writing of the piece to a willing freelancer, but it was just before Christmas and none of my regulars had been available so I’d decided to have a go myself.
I was sitting at my desk, discussing who should be included with Ian.
‘There’s an argument to be made for Jay McInerney,’ he said.
I nodded, as if I were already across that. ‘And DeLillo, of course,’ I added. ‘Wolfe. Can we get away with Franzen?’
‘Definitely.’ Ian leaned back in his chair, folding his arms across his rumpled shirt. ‘You’ve got Philip Roth, I’m guessing?’
‘Sure, sure,’ I said, even though I hadn’t thought of Philip Roth and hadn’t, at that point in my life, read a single one of his books.
There was an audible tsk-ing sound from the other side of the desk.
‘I mean, if we’re going back a bit further, we could look at Salinger…’ I continued.
The tsk-ing turned into a loud, impatient grunt. Ian’s lips twitched at the corners.
‘Do you have something to say, Lucy?’ he asked, amused.
‘No,’ she said, face flushed. ‘Actually, I mean, sorry, yes, yes I do.’ She coughed and a pink dot appeared in the centre of each cheek.
‘Please…’ Ian said, motioning with one hand that the floor was hers.
‘Well, have you thought of, you know, including any women in your list?’ she asked, her voice gathering momentum and volume as she spoke. ‘It’s just always the same boring, old, white, men. I mean, soon you’ll be citing John bloody Updike.’
I scoffed, while mentally reminding myself to include John Updike. How could I have overlooked John Updike? It was those kind of mistakes that made me stand out. That made me look like a boy who didn’t have a home full of packed bookshelves but who instead relied on his mother’s Reader’s Digest for reading material.
‘… who basically write everything with their dicks out and who all congratulate each other on being so fantastic,’ Lucy was saying, ‘when really their “state of the nation” novels are just family dramas repackaged with extra testosterone. You know, there are incredible female authors in America who, just because they write about families and have these… f-f… awful covers with close-up photographs of children and sandcastles, they just get ignored all the damn time.’
She dropped her head. Hair fell loose across her pale forehead.
‘Sorry,’ she said. ‘I just…’
I smiled at her. How sweet it was, I thought, to feel so impassioned about something. She caught my eye and smiled back, lips parting just enough for me to see her precise, straight and entirely sensible teeth.
‘Blimey,’ Ian said. ‘Didn’t realise we had Emmeline sodding Pankhurst sitting here. So who would you suggest, then?’
‘Anne Tyler, Joan Didion, Donna Tartt,’ Lucy said without looking up. ‘And that’s just for starters. That’s if you even agree with the fundamental premise of there being something that is “The Great American Novel”. Which I don’t, by the way.’
Ian chortled. ‘Thanks, Luce. Remind me, what did you study at Bristol again?’
‘English,’ she mumbled. ‘And it was Durham.’
‘I actually think it’s a good idea,’ I said, surprising myself at the sound of my own voice. ‘We should include some women.’
Lucy grinned. Her glasses had slid down her nose and she pushed them back up with a single nail-chewed forefinger and I noticed, as she did so, that her hand was shaking.
‘Thanks, Martin,’ she said and she looked at me with shining eyes.
The more I got to know her after that, the more I was charmed in spite of myself. She was so respectful, so admiring of me, so fundamentally grateful that I would pay her any attention. And I, in turn, found her intelligent and interesting company. She knew a lot.
We started taking lunch together. At first, it was just a hurried sandwich in the staff canteen but soon we graduated to the restaurant across the road from the office where we sat in wooden booths and drank wine from a magnum that the waiter would mark off at the end of the meal, charging us according to how many inches we had drunk. It was only a matter of time before lunch turned into an after-work drink in the pub – me: a pint of Guinness; Lucy: a gin and tonic. (I never liked Guinness. I only drank it when I was trying to give the impression of blokeishness.) After six months, we were having dinner. We both had a penchant for Persian food and would seek out the best places for a night-time meal of aubergine stew and lamb with barberries at the wrong end of Kensington.
And then she kissed me and I didn’t know how to say no. It was on the pavement outside a brightly painted eatery called Tas or Yaz or Fez or something similar. We were standing under a streetlamp, dank drizzle coating our faces like wet muslin and I found myself looking at her face, at the speckles of moisture on her unfashionably large glasses, at the discreet jiggle of extra flesh just underneath her chin, at the double freckle on the lobe of one ear so that it looked as if she had got them pierced even though she was one of the few women of my acquaintance who hadn’t.
‘Too scared of infection,’ she had said, explaining it to me once. ‘Too scared of everything.’
She isn’t stupid, Lucy.
It was as I was looking at her that Lucy’s expression changed. Her eyes – brown, lively – acquired a liquid quality, as though their brownness could seep out if left unguarded. I realised, too late, that what I was seeing in those darkened pupils, was lust. She leaned in, clasping her hands behind my neck and I succumbed because it was easier than anything else. And would it do so very much harm?
Her lips were soft and doughy. The kiss became moister and more enthused. I could hear a faint moaning sound coming from Lucy’s throat and then I pulled away, hands on her shoulders, a firm, paternal, ‘We shouldn’t be doing this.’
She looked at me sadly.
‘I… well, look…’
‘We get on well, don’t we? I mean, I like you.’ A meaningful little lacuna. ‘I really like you. Can’t we just… see where it goes? I’m lonely. I know you’re lonely…’ This came as news to me. The truth was, I did feel alone but I thought I had masked it sufficiently well from prying eyes in the office. At that stage, Ben was getting more serious with Serena and I was increasingly at a loose end in the evenings. Whereas, previously, the two of us had frequently gone drinking in Soho, starting off in a private members’ club before graduating to dinner at Quo Vadis and a nightcap at the Atlantic, these days Ben was more likely to stay in cooking pasta and watching films with Serena. He had asked me to find my own place so that she could move into the mews house I had shared with him since we graduated.
‘Time to grow up, mate,’ he had said, slapping me on the back. Touch came so easily to Ben. It was something I both hated and loved about him.
So perhaps I was particularly vulnerable to attention when Lucy came along. I realise now that is not an excuse.
I walked her home that evening. She lived in a surprisingly nice flat off the North End Road. I say surprisingly because I had assumed, from the dowdiness of her clothing and her penchant for buying men’s jackets from charity shops, that money was tight. It turned out I was wrong about that. Lucy’s parents were quite well off, in a hearty, middle-class kind of way. They had sent their three daughters to private school and lived in a red-brick farmhouse in Gloucestershire. At Christmas-time, they attended the carol concert at Tewkesbury Cathedral.
I deposited her at the door.
‘Come up,’ Lucy said, tugging at the sleeve of my coat.
I shook my head, feigning regret.
‘No,’ I said, trailing my fingers down her cheek. ‘That wouldn’t be right. Next time.’
I kissed the top of her head, inhaling Timotei and light sweat, and walked away, raising one arm aloft as I went.
‘See you tomorrow,’ she called out to my retreating form.
For whatever reason, the evening with Lucy had left me experiencing an uncomfortable surge of different emotions. I thought of my mother, of the way she looked at me when I told her, when I was back from school one Easter holiday, that she shouldn’t say ‘settee’ but ‘sofa’ and that the way she pronounced ‘cinema’ without elongating the final ‘a’ was embarrassing.
I found myself walking towards Brompton Cemetery and although it was late and I knew the main gates would be closed, I also knew from previous visits that there was a point in the wall on the Lillie Road where the stones had come loose and you could crawl through quite easily on your hands and knees.
This I did, the palms of my hands gathering up bits of twig and pine cone and leaving a latticed indentation of dirt across my skin. I stood, brushing myself clean. A piece of lichen had lodged itself in my hair. I shook it out.
The cemetery stood in the gloom of night, half lit here and there by a weak streetlamp. Gravestones and silhouetted stone angels loomed out of the shadows. Some notable historical figures were buried nearby although I’d never tried to seek out their graves. My favourite gravestone (if one can have such a thing) was to mark the passing of a young man called Horace Brass who died at the age of sixteen in 1910. His name was carved in looped art nouveau cursive.
I started walking towards it, hands in my pockets. A man fell into step beside me. I glanced to one side and saw that, no, this was not a man but a boy. A teenage boy, like Horace Brass, pale and thin as a silver birch. He had greasy hair and spots around his mouth.
‘Looking for company?’ he said.
‘No,’ I said too loudly. ‘No I don’t… I mean, I’m not.’
A fizz of anger in my solar plexus. I doubled up my pace and walked swiftly back the way I had come.
The next day, I was late into the office. I had a migraine, I recall, and with every step I took, the ground felt too far away for my feet to make contact with it. I sat at my desk, shading my eyes from the sunlight spooling through the windows, and flicked through the latest issue of the Art Newspaper, pretending to concentrate on the words. When Lucy came in, she smiled at me and I remember this internal surge of relief that she still liked me. In Lucy’s mind, I was still the man she had kissed outside her front door, the man she had wanted to come upstairs, the man she respected and liked and enjoyed spending time with. In her mind, I was the nice Martin Gilmour. I was the Martin Gilmour I wanted to be.
I smiled back at her. That day, we went again for lunch together, taking our supermarket sandwiches to sit on our coats in Kensington Gardens. I kissed her, taking her face in both my hands, conveying a tenderness I almost felt. She tasted of prawns and mayonnaise. I felt no stirring, no passion, no love. But there was affection there, and fondness too. And there was an understanding of sorts. I am sure of that. I did not pull the wool over her eyes, as my mother might have said. Lucy knew what I was. Really, she can’t complain.
Of course, nothing is as easy as it first appears. I used to like Lucy so much, truly I did. Over the years, that like has been dulled: brass left unpolished. The same qualities that drew me to her: an uncomplicated view of the world, her mild eccentricity, her un-groomed refusal to make the best of herself and above all, her adoration of me, now set me on edge. And then there’s the children thing, naturally. I’d always told her I didn’t want any of my own and she accepted it in the beginning. But that was before her friends started popping them out with alacrity, posting twelve-week scans and pictures of bleary-eyed newborns on Facebook with humdrum frequency. Our socialising changed – it was no longer nights in the pub but picnics in the park surrounded by screaming toddlers, or early-evening barbecues, the timing of everything defined by when babysitters could be relied upon to arrive and leave or when Isadora or Humphrey or Matilda could be put down for their naps.
Oh, and isn’t Lucy wonderful with kids? Look at how she plays with them! Forever kneeling down to meet their eyes; taking them by the hand; running after them in a game of tag, her floral dress breezing round her knees. She had six godchildren. But every time she went to Tiffany to buy a silver charm bracelet or engraved tankard for yet another christening, something within her hardened. She lost that yielding softness she once had.
- "Elizabeth Day's psychological thriller, about an aristocrat's birthday party gone awry, updates Waugh, Highsmith and Fitzgerald... Day's sly fourth novel is an enticing mix of social, climbing, barely hidden list and possible crimes...THE PARTY knowingly nods toward Brideshead Revisited and The Talented Mr. Ripley. But Day refreshes their themes for an age in which the upper echelons retain their allure and their grasp on power while posing as common folk... Day's shrewd eye and authorial tone also provide a gleeful, edgy wit.... [a] smart, irresistible romp."—New York Times Book Review
- "In this psychological page-turner, a deeply buried secret that ties two married couples together comes to a head during one lavish 40th birthday party."—Entertainment Weekly
- "By page one of this devious, witty, thrilling book, you'll be as haplessly seduced by Ben Fitzmaurice's glamorous lifestyle as his old classmate, Martin Gilmour."—Refinery29
- "[Martin] makes for a deliciously untrustworthy narrator; seemingly candid, but at the same time never telling the full story, perhaps because he's so good at keeping secrets.... Brimming with betrayal, corruption and hypocrisy, The Party is a gripping page-turner."—The Guardian
"Like Herman Koch co-wrote a literary page-turner with Patricia Highsmith-irresistible stuff."
- "Rave-worthy."—Book Riot
"Witty, dark and compelling"
"Superb--clever, gripping, psychologically acute."
—Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us
"Day's latest novel is sinister and seductive and nothing short of breathtaking."
—Francesca Segal, author of The Innocents
"Think Brideshead Revisited meets The Talented Mr. Ripley with a dash of The Riot Club. I couldn't put it down."
—Louise O'Neill, author of Asking For It
- "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, creator and star of Fleabag
- Martin is a spellbinding storyteller who doles out details like they're a controlled substance... his narration is littered with keen yet cutting observations about people, their relationships, and society at large....Vividly sketched characters and evocative prose further distinguish the story, which ends on a note that both shocks and gratifies. Day's latest is a dark, haunting, and elegantly crafted tale of obsession, desperation, devastation, and rebirth."—Kirkus (starred review)
- "This is a dark and compelling book of lifelong obsessions, jealousies and neuroses; of acute psychological complaint, of dissatisfactions, of isolation, loneliness and solipsistic rage."—The Observer
- "A deft thriller.... Literary flashbacks, which can be jarring or even confusing, are masterfully illuminating in The Party: They tighten the tension and lead the reader naturally to the next clue or curiosity.... The Party is well-rounded and satisfying, not only as an accomplished page-turning mystery, but also for its in-depth examination of class, of marriage and friendship, and of deception, loyalty and ambition."—St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Day spellbindingly spools out the evening's events.... The Party is a splendid, stunning slow burn."
- On Sale
- Aug 7, 2018
- Page Count
- 304 pages
- Back Bay Books