After the Party by Cressida Connolly

51MClwFpL6L._SL500_I’m not sure that Phyllis Forrester truly recognises what led to her incarceration, nor does she repent it.

To be honest I’m not sure I properly understand it either. I’m not familiar with this part of British history which likely has some bearing on that, on the other hand I don’t think any specific knowledge is necessary to enjoy this book.

Phyllis’ story has two perspectives of narration: one, her older self, the second, that of the person she is telling her story to, who has presumably interviewed others & explored the events & history themselves. Therefore there are chapters told in first person & others in 3rd person with a broader perspective, as if it’s a written history.

It’s an extraordinary & a very subtle story. In many ways Phyllis is a sideline for the main events, after all, World War II is brewing. But it is Phyllis’ ordinariness that makes her story interesting. Had she been a more influential character she may have been a less sympathetic one.

What I can’t decide is whether Phyllis was truly as naive as her narrative suggests, or whether that’s a pretense to create a more favourable personal history. I suspect she really was naive, but she seems to have overlooked an awful lot.

I like to understand what I’m reading in broader context so I did turn to Wikipedia for additional information on Defence Regulation 18B & Oswald Mosley, which was enlightening.

I absolutely loved Cressida Connolly’s writing. It’s subtle & gorgeous, well matched to the story with the occasional & most delightful surprises. Beautiful.

I read the audiobook edition, narrated by Kristin Atherton & she was absolutely perfect in her performance at all points. It’s an excellent quality production too (courtesy of Penguin Books Ltd).

I picked this up on a whim, knowing nothing about it & not being a usual fan of historical fiction. I highly recommend this for anyone whose interest strays into British history, especially of civilians during WWII, & of right wing politics. I’d also recommend to anyone who enjoys a quiet, thoroughly enthralling read.

After the Party • by Cressida Connolly • read by Kristin Atherton • 9 hours 51 minutes • published by Penguin Books Ltd • September 07, 2018

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