Parties: A Literary Comparion by Susanna Johnston - review by Camilla Dempster

Camilla Dempster

Pressing Flesh

Parties: A Literary Comparion

By

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'Hospitality is a wonderful thing. If people really want you, they'll have you, even if the cook has just died in the house of smallpox.' Those words come from the Notebooks of F Scott Fitzgerald, creator of Jay Gatsby, just one of the hundreds of characters, real and imaginary, who appear in this anthology. In the 350 years of writing of covered here the manners have changed but the essential components of parties have not, nor has time lessened the potential for disaster which that powerful mix of drink, sex, food and music can engender.

In fifty years, and on another continent, the style of a party can disintegrate from this: 'In his [Gatsby's] blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars… ' to this: 'It [the kitchen] is filled with people; a male

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