Thursday, December 17, 2020

Top ten house parties in fiction

David Leavitt's fiction has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize, the National Book Critics' Circle Award and the LA Times Fiction Prize, and shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Harper's and Vogue, among other publications. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is Professor of English at the University of Florida and edits the literary magazine Subtropics.

Leavitt's latest novel is Shelter in Place.

At the Guardian he tagged ten great house parties in fiction, including:
Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

Entertainments gone awry are a common feature of house parties in fiction. Here, the entertainment is a play written by 13-year-old Briony Tallis but wrecked by the cousins she enlists to perform in it – a humiliation that will have lasting repercussions not just for Briony herself but for her sister and her sister’s lover, Robbie Turner. As the novel moves toward its heartbreaking and heart-stopping last chapter, McEwan nudges but doesn’t quite break through fiction’s famous fourth wall.
Read about another entry on the list.

Atonement also appears on Abbie Greaves's top ten list of books about silence, Eliza Casey's list of ten favorite stories--from film, fiction, and television--from the early 20th century, Nicci French's top ten list of dinner parties in fiction, Mark Skinner's list of ten of the best country house novels, Julia Dahl's top ten list of books about miscarriages of justice, Tim Lott's top ten list of summers in fiction, Ellen McCarthy's list of six favorite books about weddings and marriage, David Treuer's six favorite books list, Kirkus Reviews's list of eleven books whose final pages will shock you, Nicole Hill's list of eleven books in which the main character dies, Isla Blair's six best books list, Jessica Soffer's top ten list of book endings, Jane Ciabattari's list of five masterpieces of fiction that also worked as films, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best birthday parties in literature, ten of the best misdirected messages in literature, ten of the best scenes on London Underground, ten of the best breakages in literature, ten of the best weddings in literature, and ten of the best identical twins in fiction. It is one of Stephanie Beacham's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue