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A Curious Invitation by Suzette Field
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A Curious Invitation (edition 2012)

by Suzette Field

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183561,019 (3.5)1
Member:BLehner
Title:A Curious Invitation
Authors:Suzette Field
Info:Picador (2012), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned, Pan MacMillan Reviews
Rating:****
Tags:None

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A Curious Invitation by Suzette Field

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I received this book through First Reads.

I was very intrigued by the concept of this book. A glimpse into some classic literature and the chance to revel with literary party-throwers and goers for 300 pages - who wouldn't like that? The idea was satisfying. The book was somewhat less so. For me, anyway.

A Curious Invitation covers forty parties and the descriptions of all of them share the same format. They are all broken down into: The Invitation, The Host, The Venue, The Guest List, The Dress Code, The Food and Drink, The Conversation, The Entertainment, The Outcome, and The Legacy. Despite not being in love with the work as a whole, I thought this was a very good concept in order to have a common thread between the parties. However, the sections of "The Outcome," as I would find, contain huge spoilers for the works in which the parties take place. If you haven't read the book, as I hadn't with a great many of those featured, then you have the book spoiled for you with no warning. I was quite unhappy with this. Fortunately, I learned this trend so I could skip over this section for a few parties as to not have to angrily strike books off of my "to be read" list.

The main issue that I had with this book, though, was that the genres were so diverse that, even though the format tried to overcome this, there wasn't a strong enough connection between the parties. You would find yourself jumping from a ancient Grecian party to one thrown in the late nineteenth century. While I realize this isn't the author's fault (these are very different parties thrown in very different times), I think that a little transition could have gone a long way. Field did a great job in the first two sections transitioning Trimalchio into Gatsby, but there was no further effort after this. Maybe if they were arranged by time period it would have been a little easier to digest.

I would still recommend this book to lovers of the classics. Maybe they would be more willing to overlook the hiccups that kept me from getting into the book. ( )
  olivenerd | Feb 3, 2014 |
Eclectic look at the depiction of parties, soirees, banquets and balls across the whole history of literature, examining every dress code, menu, guest list and conversation. Possibly the first book to compare Joyce's Finnegan's Wake with Jackie Collins's Hollywood Wives (!)Has persuaded me to finally get around to certain books...

Here's a list of all 40 of the novels:

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/25215.The_Greatest_Parties_In_Literature_acco...


( )
  Dickon.Edwards | Jun 30, 2013 |
Being instantly drawn to this book, which features such a quirky title in combination with one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen in a long time, this proved indeed to be quite a unique read. Suzette Field certainly picked an unusual topic in her book A Curious Invitation, presenting an eclectic collection of bookish parties - from Queen Alice's Feast to The Ball at Mansfield Park, straight to The Thomas Ewen High School Prom and Finnegan's Wake!
The focus on parties as literary device, and possible inspiration for your own fictional party, sounded fascinating and certainly did not disappoint. Not simply a reiteration of what other authors have written, everything from the location of each party to the dress code, food, and entertainment is being highlighted with refreshingly British humor.
Of course some might wonder what use such a book may have, apart from being wonderfully entertaining, and all I can say is, it's not just a marvelous introduction to the broad variety of novels included, even more so it opens a whole new viewpoint from which to dip into these, often classic, stories. Plus, if you should feel so inclined, it will certainly make for interesting party planning too. Of course, being one of London's top party organizers, Ms Field knows her way around parties that are, shall we say, a little different, so why not let her literar(ll)y inspire you to host your own?
In short: A delightfully bookish party planner! ( )
1 vote BLehner | Jan 27, 2013 |
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Since ancient times human beings have gathered together for social purposes. The party is a useful literary device, not only for social comment and satire, but as an occasion where characters can meet, fall in love, fall out or even get murdered. 'A Curious Invitation' features 40 of the greatest fictional festivities.… (more)

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