book cover of The Party Upstairs
Added by 1 of our members

The Party Upstairs

(2020)
A novel by

 
 
An electrifying debut novel that unfolds in the course of a single day inside one genteel New York City apartment building, as tensions between the building's super and his grown-up daughter spark a crisis that will, by day's end, change everything.

Ruby has a strange relationship to privilege. She grew up the super's daughter in the basement of an Upper West Side co-op that gets more gentrified with each passing year. Though not economically privileged herself, her close childhood friendship with Caroline, the daughter of affluent tenants, and the mere fact of living in such a wealthy neighborhood, close to her beloved Natural History Museum, brought her certain advantages, even expectations. Naturally Ruby followed her dreams and took out loans to attend a prestigious small liberal arts college and explore her interest in art. But now, out of school for a while, she is no closer to her dream job, or anything resembling it, and she's been forced by circumstances to do the last thing she wanted to do: move back in with her parents, back into the basement. And Caroline is throwing one of her parties tonight, in her father's glorious penthouse apartment, a party Ruby looks forward to and dreads in equal measure.

With a thriller's narrative control, The Party Upstairs distills worlds of wisdom about families, great expectations, and the hidden violence of class into the gripping, darkly witty story of a single fateful day inside the Manhattan co-op Ruby calls home. Told from the alternating points of view of Ruby and her father, the novel builds from the spark of an early morning argument between them to the ultimate conflagration to which it leads by day's end. By the time the ashes have cooled, the façade that masks the building's power structure will have burned away, and no party will be left unscathed.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"The Party Upstairs is a dazzling and dioramic novel--Lee Conell situates so much intricate life and energy inside of one day, one building. I'll be recommending this smart, funny, suspenseful, timely, and beautifully constructed book to friends and strangers." - Chris Bachelder

"The Party Upstairs made my pulse race. It builds its tensions expertly, like a thriller, unearthing suspense from the daily struggle to earn and keep a paycheck, the never-ending threat of job-loss and destitution. Lee Conell perceives everyone she writes about, rich and poor alike, with perfect clarity: on the one side those who gaze out on poverty as a kind of spectacle, on the other those who endure it as a kind of bombardment, and in the middle Martin and Ruby, the superintendent of an Upper West Side apartment building and his debt-ridden daughter, who pretend—but only pretend—that they're able to watch the bombs fall from afar." - Kevin Brockmeier

"I savored every word of this funny, wise, and cool book. Ruby's post-college return to her parents' apartment in the basement of a building near the Museum of Natural History is hardly triumphal, yet on one March day and night she and her father—the building's super—manage to do and undo their best-laid plans and beliefs about who they are to each other and in the world. Lee Conell is profound, wise, and witty, and in The Party Upstairs has offered us all a manual for how to care for the spaces we inhabit and the people and events that upset our equilibrium in ways both good and bad—including ourselves. This novel will take its well-earned place among the enduring books about young women. It is serious-minded and relevant in the hardest times, and also offers the pleasures of a great party." - Alice Elliott Dark

"The Party Upstairs is thrilling—fiercely intelligent, meticulously crafted, and darkly, painfully funny. At every turn, on every page, Lee Conell offers rare insight and rewards her lucky readers’ attention. This is a first-rate writer, unafraid and illuminating and vitally necessary." - Bret Anthony Johnston

"In The Party Upstairs Lee Conell follows Martin and Ruby, father and daughter, through a single day as they negotiate the exasperating occupants, living and dead, of the co-op where Martin works as the superintendent. Conell writes with wonderful wit and empathy about the importance of money, the longing for a larger life and the confusions between a parent and an adult child. An irresistible novel." - Margot Livesey

"A portrait of social class in New York City, The Party Upstairs is at once witty, spooky, and lively, with several realities all performing themselves simultaneously. Lee Conell is a maestro." - Lorrie Moore


Similar books by other authors


Used availability for Lee Conell's The Party Upstairs

Hardback Editions

July 2020 : Hardback
thumb

Title: The Party Upstairs: A Novel
Author(s): Lee Conell
ISBN: 1-984880-27-6 / 978-1-984880-27-7
Publisher: Penguin Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

July 2020 : Paperback
thumb

Title: The Party Upstairs
Author(s): Lee Conell
ISBN: 1-984881-89-2 / 978-1-984881-89-2
Publisher: Penguin Random House USA
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

July 2020 : USA Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Party Upstairs: A Novel
Author(s): Lee Conell
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


July 2020 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Party Upstairs: A Novel
Author(s): Lee Conell
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

July 2020 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Party Upstairs: A Novel
Author(s): Lee Conell
Publisher: Penguin Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA