V Read—After the Party by Cressida Connolly

What can we say about this book—at once full of sinister undertones, the glorious British countryside, impeccable manners, incarceration, infidelity and a death?

It opens in 1979 with Phyllis Forrester giving us an account of her time in Holloway prison (for what we don’t know yet) and then taking us back to the formative pre- and early war years of 1938-1943 to tell the tale. This novel is about Moseley, Fascist sympathies, proper English manners, and a chilling insight into how the good and the great and the downright normal flirted with politics and misguided idealistic beliefs.

A sense of unease prevails from the opening chapter as Phyllis returns to sleepy Sussex with her family from abroad, her two sisters Nina and Patricia, and a social scene that involves dinner party chatter, summer camps, affairs, and an almost chilling naivety that has devastating consequences.  

It’s hard to convey the brilliance of the writing and research that have created this compelling book. The narrative is so seamless from present to past and back again that you are all consumed.

Don’t thank us. You’re welcome.