Our Book Of The Month for May is After The Party by Cressida Connolly. As part of our online Book Club we’ve set out some questions around After The Party for you to get involved with. Either answer below or use as discussion points at your next Book Club. Happy Book Clubbing!
“‘Had it not been for my weakness, someone who is now dead could still be alive. That is what I believed and consequently lived with every day in prison.’
“It is the summer of 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England after years abroad. Moving into her sister’s grand country house, she soon finds herself entangled in a new world of idealistic beliefs and seemingly innocent friendships. Fevered talk of another war infiltrates their small, privileged circle. Giving way to a thrilling solution: a great and charismatic leader, who will restore England to its former glory.
At a party hosted by her new friends, Phyllis lets down her guard for a single moment, with devastating consequences. Years later, Phyllis, alone and embittered, recounts the dramatic events which led to her imprisonment and changed the course of her life forever.”
The following are written with the presumption you have read the book. If you haven’t, bookmark the post for now so you can come back and answer the questions later.
- “I always wanted to be friends with both my sisters. Perhaps that was the source, really, of all the troubles of my life…” Do you agree with this statement made by Phyllis? How much is Phyllis to blame for her own actions? How much can be attributed to her being the younger sister? Or being a woman in the 1930s?
- Phyllis ‘forgives’ sister Patricia for (supposedly) sleeping with her husband but does not forgive her for trying to adopt son Edwin. Which is the greater wrong? If Phyllis had made a stand with Patricia and Hugh, would the situation with Edwin ever have come about?
- How much knowledge did you have of the British Union of Fascists or Oswald Mosley (aka the Leader) before reading After The Party? Has the book highlighted a particular section of history you were perhaps not aware of?
- “I don’t see Jamie” Were you happy with the ending between Phyllis and Jamie? Would it have been too sickly sweet to have them end up together? Why did Jamie offer to walk Phyllis home that final time if not to sleep with her?
- “Had it not been for my weakness, someone who is now dead could still be alive. That is what I believed and consequently lived with every day in prison.” Given this quote, which party do you think the title was referring to – the British Union party or the party held by Sarita? Why?
Get Involved with After The Party
Feel free to answer as many of the questions as you like, it’s not an all or nothing thing. Post your replies below, discuss with us on social media using @BookSocialUK, or pose some questions of your own.