the afterparty
The Afterparty is a good example of a book which I ended up liking after I started reading it more and more. It traces the lives of four people over the span of one birthday night. The first is of course the protagonist – Hugo Marks – the actor whose birthday provides the opportunity for everyone to get into the mess they did. Then we have Melody who is his supermodel wife. Thirdly, we have the young pop-star boyfriend of Melody – Calvin Vance and finally Michael Kight – a journalist who’s attending the party reluctantly after being given a colleague’s invitation. The plot, however, revolves around William Mendez’ emails to an agent, Valerie Morrell, alternated with chapters about the entire happenings of this one evening. However, Mendez does not want to reveal his identity and so they decide to get hold of a columnist named Leo Benedictus to portray as the writer.

This, being Benedictus’s first book, is a decent read provided you decide not to take it too seriously. It’s a satirical memoir of immense shenanigans of all celebrities in the plot. Coming to the story, it is about this actor, Hugo. He is melancholic and has a wife who resorts to drugs at the drop of a hat. Hugo’s birthday party is all glamour and glitz with real life celebrities mingling with imaginary ones like Calvin Vance. He is the recent X Factor winner who manages to score with Hugo’s wife, Melody.

And then we have William who has sneaked into this grand party on someone else’s invitation. He has high hopes of getting a story but gets embroiled in unwarranted situations. It starts with a conversation with Hugo. They seem to get along over “very good whisky” and loads of conversations. This is just heralding a series of unexpected events comprising drugs, sex, death and of course, the cops and the media. Michael just keeps getting sucked into it with each passing moment but unfortunately, as the reader, you feel nothing – no empathy, really nothing at all! This is indeed one of the low points of this book. It fails to connect with the reader. It doesn’t make you think or feel anything at all.

The thing that stands out about The Afterparty is the concept of a novel within a novel. It is almost impossible to figure out if Benedictus has written whatever he has just to highlight William Mendez or is that his own style of writing. It would not be unfair to say Benedictus does manage to drive away the reader’s attention from the writer to simply the plot. Whether you like it or not, Benedictus has definitely managed to have a better-than-average debut with The Afterparty for sure.