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Literary The Party by Elizabeth Day
#11  sun surfer 11-03-2019, 10:58 PM
Well I’ve just finished and I’m processing it, but the cat!
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#12  AnotherCat 11-04-2019, 04:58 PM
I finished yesterday and found it an enjoyable read.

Yes, the cat .
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#13  Bookworm_Girl 11-05-2019, 01:55 AM
I'm glad you are both done and found the book enjoyable. I would like to read more by this author.

Now we can discuss the book with less fear of spoilers. I took notes while I was reading to keep track of what I was thinking about some of the potential twists that may be coming. It will be interesting to review those.

What do you think of the narrative technique? I thought who, when and where were important factors. It alternated between Martin and Lucy who were married (therefore on the same "team") and both unreliable. Would it have worked better with a single narrator or even multiple narrators including Ben and Serena? The timeline was also interesting. I had expected it to be more linear following the party and then the aftermath. Lastly, location was a factor in where the flashbacks were told from. It took me a while to figure out where Lucy was. These all contributed to the aspect of unreliability and lack of trust in what secrets the characters were hiding and what their motivations were for what they were telling the reader/interviewer.
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#14  sun surfer 11-10-2019, 05:02 PM
I'd also like to read more by Day. This was enjoyable. I felt like the plot and characters were close to derivative but she managed to make it all just different enough and made some of the characters, especially Martin, so multi-dimensional and rounded which I think helps greatly to breathe unique life into something worn before. I also thought the plot was in danger of falling off an edge of absurdity but she managed to make it all work by the end; perhaps that was her plan?

I do think the 'reveal' of what happened at the party was a bit lacklustre compared to how it'd been built up beforehand, but I had got involved enough by then in the story and characters not to care. And the ambiguous ending was a nice touch (and perhaps left the door open for a sequel at some point?).
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#15  sun surfer 11-10-2019, 05:20 PM
Quote
What do you think of the narrative technique? I thought who, when and where were important factors. It alternated between Martin and Lucy who were married (therefore on the same "team") and both unreliable. Would it have worked better with a single narrator or even multiple narrators including Ben and Serena?
It's interesting you saw Martin and Lucy as more 'on the same team'. For most of the book I saw them as mild antagonists since Martin was in a marriage of convenience, not love, and viewed Lucy almost as something like a glorified lackey (of course echoing Ben and Martin). By the end they had bonded more by the revelations of the night of the party though... despite it leading to their separation lol.

I liked the four-pronged narrative technique of Martin's past, Martin being interviewed, the night of the party, and Lucy's journal. It definitely gave the story a lot of layers and worked for me. I also liked the revelation at the end that Martin had written it all (I suppose using the journal of Lucy he'd somehow got?) and was still obsessed with Ben but now obsessed with revenge.

I mentioned before how it was rather unbelievable that neither in school nor at work the possibility of Martin being gay wasn't ever outright mentioned; however, in retrospect it worked because if Martin were writing it all, he might leave in the allusion to people thinking he might be different/gay but not let anyone in the recollections of his past actually say it per his own sensibilities. This ties into the unreliability of the narrative.

A single narrator wouldn't have worked as good in my opinion. I'm not sure how multiple narrators would've played out. Ben was well rounded but though he's good looking and charismatic, I'm not sure his internal dialogue would be as interesting as Martin or Lucy's. Serena was a somewhat flatter character and as is I think her narration would be boring unless her character were rounded out. I feel like I get what their side of the story would be- Martin is obsessed with Ben but because of what happened they'd been bound so far to play nice with him and his wife.
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#16  Bookworm_Girl 11-18-2019, 01:40 AM
Well, I meant "team" in that they are clearly "together" when it is their pairing against Ben and Serena, yet they aren't much of a couple in the way that they are deceiving each other. I liked the contrast. Also, Martin appreciates Lucy standing by him through everything. They do both help each other with the police investigation by not revealing all they know about the other, which would have been condemning.
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#17  Bookworm_Girl 11-18-2019, 01:42 AM
Quote AnotherCat
I finished yesterday and found it an enjoyable read.

Yes, the cat .
The cat was chilling. I feel like the reader starts to actually "sort of" like Martin towards the end (more than just thinking of him as psychopathic) and then the cat takes you right back to the beginning and the story of the bird!
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#18  AnotherCat 11-18-2019, 10:21 PM
I don't think I can add much else to what has been said as I am in general agreement and enjoyed the book.

For a couple of times early in the book I did end up doing a few backward searches thinking I must have missed something, but soon got the idea that it would likely become clear in a chapter or two :-).
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