The brilliant new novel from the Man Booker shortlisted author of The Clothes on Their Backs
'If you go back and look at your life there are certain scenes, acts, or maybe just incidents on which everything that follows seems to depend. If only you could narrate them, then you might be understood. I mean the part of yourself that you don't know how to explain.'
In the early seventies, a glamorous and androgynous couple known as Evie/Stevie appear out of nowhere on the isolated concrete campus of a new university. To a group of teenagers experimenting with radical ideas, they seem blown back from the future, unsettling everything and uncovering covert desires. But their mesmerising flamboyant self-expression hides deep anxieties and hidden histories.
For Adele, who also has something to conceal, Evie becomes an obsession - an obsession which becomes lifelong after the night of Adele's twentieth birthday party. What happened that evening and who was complicit are questions that have haunted Adele ever since. A set of school exercise books might reveal everything, but they have been missing for the past forty years.
From summers in 1970s Cornwall to London in the twenty-first century, long after she has disappeared, Evie will go on challenging everyone's ideas of how their lives should turn out.
With her hallmark humour, intelligence and boldness Linda Grant has written a powerful and captivating novel about secrets and the moments that shape our lives.
[An] excellent novel . . . Straight-talking but far from straightforward in its observations, Upstairs at the Party's portrait of an era is convincing, its subtle cynicism regarding the pitfalls of freedom something to mull over - Daily Telegraph
One of our best modern authors, a Liverpudlian with a huge imagination. I've never been able to stop reading any of her work once I've started - Mail on Sunday
I read this deeply felt, deeply moving, novel twice. It's very good - The Times
A wonderfully and perceptively written story, which rings utterly true, and as a consequence lifts the spirits - Guardian
Linda Grant is author of five non-fiction books and seven novels. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award. The Dark Circle was shortlisted for the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel, A Stranger City, was published in 2019. Linda Grant lives in London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds honorary doctorates from the University of York and John Moores University.