Forty of the greatest fictional festivities as seen through the eyes of the world's greatest writers.
People love to party. And writers love to attend and document these occasions. The party is a useful literary device, not only for social commentary and satire but also as an occasion where characters can meet, fall in and out of love, or even get murdered.
A Curious Invitation is a humorous and informative guide to literature's most memorable parties. Some of these parties are depictions of real events, like the Duchess of Richmond's ball on the eve of battle with Napoleon in Thackeray's Vanity Fair; others draw on the authors' experience of the society they lived in, such as Lady Metroland's party in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies; while others come straight from the writer's bizarre imagination, like Douglas Adams' flying party above an unknown planet from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Witty, entertaining, and full of fabulous detail, A Curious Invitation offers readers the chance to crash some of the great parties in literary history.
Suzette Field was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 1996 she moved to England to continue her education and never got around to going home. She is now Tribune of the Last Tuesday Society, one of London's premier events promoters. While not arranging glamorous extravaganzas, Suzette has been locked away in the London Library's splendid Georgian reading rooms writing A Curious Invitation, her first book.
“Holiday hostesses will find much to inspire in London impresario Suzette Field’s A Curious Invitation, from the fancy dress ball at Manderley to Jay Gatsby’s Prohibition-era decadence.” — Vogue.com
“In ‘A Curious Invitation,’ Suzette Field collects 40 and dissects them with great wit and insight. . . . Re-living the festivities in well-loved books is part of the charm of this one; even more exhilarating, perhaps, is meeting intriguing new writers.” — Boston Globe
“With panache, attention to arresting details, and a flair for mixing literary classics with pop-culture hits, prominent London event planner Field invites readers to forty fictional parties . . . She quotes lavishly from her sources to splendid effect.” — Publishers Weekly
“Suzette Field is a genuinely talented story teller. Her book possess a playful lightness of touch, but is pregnant with fact and meaning. It is both amusing and informative. Never has education been such a pleasure, never reading a learned exposition so delightful.” — Dan Cruickshank Art historian, BBC television presenter and author
“London event planner Field takes us across time and continents to 40 of the best parties in fiction. Like the social pages of a newspaper - but way more entertaining . . . Armchair party-crashing at its finest.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer
“It takes a book like Suzette Field’s A Curious Invitation to remind us of the absolute centrality of social entertainment to the way in which a literary classic works its spell.” — Daily Telegraph (London)
“Need a bit of entertaining inspiration? Take a page from a new book on the greatest gatherings that never were.” — Wall Street Journal