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Books Editorial

partybook.jpg The Party
 

Elizabeth Day, Fourth Estate

When we first meet Martin Gilmour he is in the interview room of a police station being quizzed about the events of a party, a big society do for the 40th birthday of his best friend, Ben Fitzmaurice. We don’t yet know the nature of the enquiries, but in subsequent chapters Elizabeth Day takes us back through Martin and Ben’s friendship, and the party itself. They met aged 13 at a private school, and while Martin is something of an outsider, with a love-free upbringing, Ben comes from a close-knit, and extremely wealthy, family. Also in the mix is Martin’s wife, Lucy, and her relationship with Martin is sketched through a series of notebook entries. It’s a gripping tale with echoes of The Talented Mr Ripley and The Line of Beauty (and, as in Alan Hollinghurst’s class-spanning story, the Prime Minister even shows up at the party). The author has marshalled together a cast of mostly disagreeable characters for our immense enjoyment here, while also letting the novel’s secrets unfurl in the most delicious of manners. Great fun.