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Booker International Longlist 2023 – The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

Book 10 The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier Translated by Daniel Levin Becker

Reviewed by Tracy & BookWorm

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:  This gripping tale of the violent irruptions of the past into the present, from a major contemporary French writer, is a deft unravelling of the stories we hide from others – and from ourselves.

Buried deep in rural France, little remains of the isolated hamlet of the Three Lone Girls, save a few houses and a curiously assembled quartet: Patrice Bergogne, inheritor of his family’s farm; his wife, Marion; their daughter, Ida; and their neighbour, Christine, an artist.

While Patrice plans a surprise for his wife’s fortieth birthday, inexplicable events start to disrupt the hamlet’s quiet existence: anonymous, menacing letters, an unfamiliar car rolling up the driveway. And as night falls, strangers stalk the houses, unleashing a nightmarish chain of events.

Tracy’s Thoughts:  One word review: BLOATED

So.many.words. This could have been a great thriller. Uninvited guests show up to a birthday party and cause some problems.

But the author ruined it- we don’t need five different descriptions of a detail that has no bearing on the story. The sad thing is, the plot was fast paced, the story was good. It was just lost in all the BS.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 2/4
Plot development: 4/4
Overall enjoyment: 0.5/2
Total: 13.5/20

BookWorm’s Thoughts: I can’t disagree with Tracy on this one there was a tense, fast paced thriller hiding in here sadly it was lost under all the un-necessary words. The tension drained away as the reader had to endure descriptions of sweet breads, discussions about art and inner monologues that just distracter from the action.

The central story could have been told in half the amount of pages and the reader would not be missing out.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Character development: 2/4
Plot development: 3/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 12/20

Have you read this? Let us know what you thought.

Is Mother Dead 19
Standing Heavy 18
Time Shelter 17.5
Still Born 17.25
Ninth Building 16
Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv 16
Whale 15.5
Boulder 13.5
The Birthday Party 12.75
The Gospel According to the New World 11.5

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