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The Shooting Party: A Novel Paperback – June 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Poised, wry, lovable, informative . . . An utterly complete rendering of a way of life.” —Gail Godwin, author of Queen of the Underworld

“A beautifully crafted novel, remarkably visual and evocative. The characters are caught in stunning images and tableaux that convey the essence of their natures, the sweep of their emotions.” —The Washington Post

The Shooting Party is a lovely piece of writing, in which subtlety, irony, and close observation abound.” —Larry McMurtry

About the Author

Isabel Colegate is the author of twelve novels, a collection of short stories, and, most recently, A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses (Counterpoint, April 2002). She lives near Bath, England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Second Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582435936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582435930
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Isabel Colegate was born in 1931 in London and was educated at Runton Hill School in Norfolk. In 1952 she went into partnership with Anthony Blond, who was then starting a literary agency and would go on to found a publishing house, and in 1953 she married Michael Briggs, with whom she has a daughter and two sons.

Colegate's first novel, The Blackmailer, was published by Blond in 1958 and was followed by two more novels focusing on English life in the years after the Second World War: A Man of Power (1960) and The Great Occasion (1962). These were later republished by Penguin in an omnibus volume, Three Novels, in 1983.

Though she has written a number of other successful novels, as well as reviews for the Spectator, Daily Telegraph and TLS, Colegate is best known for her bestseller and major critical success The Shooting Party (1980), which won the W.H. Smith Literary Award and was adapted for a now-classic 1985 film version. The book is still in print today (with Counterpoint in the US and as a Penguin Modern Classic in the UK). More recently, she has written the acclaimed novel Winter Journey (1995) and the non-fiction work Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits and Solitaries (2002).

Isabel Colegate was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in1981. She and her husband live in Somerset.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Readers who admire careful, precise writing will thrill at Colegate's prose, which is so polished it sparkles here, avoiding pretension, excess verbiage, and empty lyricism. Instead, Colegate chooses words full of inference and irony, feeling and attitude. Broad themes, historical perspective, and a plot which contains a large cast of individualized characters from all levels of society come alive here in a mere two hundred pages.

Setting the novel in the autumn of 1913, before the outbreak of World War I, Colegate establishes her themes in the first paragraph, asking the reader to imagine an Edwardian drawing room of a country estate, with gas lamps, a log fire, and people from a long time ago, sitting and standing in groups. In the room beyond, a "fierce electric light" shines forth, overpowering the quiet, lamplit room, making it seem shadowy and the people like "beings from a much remoter past." The gentry in this snapshot are not naïve. Even they recognize that "an age, perhaps a civilization, is coming to an end," as industrialization and urbanization are changing the centers of power, and a war looms.

A lively cast of characters is invited to Sir Randolph Nettleby's 1000-acre park for a weekend shoot, and as they converse and interact, they quickly become individualized, the reader learning of their attitudes and prejudices, their understanding of the code of behavior, and the details of their very "civilized" lives. When the shoot begins and the beaters send the birds into the air, the symbolic parallels between the world as it has been, the world as it will be during the coming war, and the world as it may be after the war become obvious to the reader, and the death of one of the characters is not a surprise.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Scheduled for reprinting in December, 2002, this novel will thrill readers who admire careful, precise writing. Like a jeweler, Colegate has polished her prose till it sparkles, avoiding pretension, excess verbiage, and empty lyricism, choosing, instead, words full of inference and irony, feeling and attitude. Broad themes, historical perspective, and a plot which contains a large cast of individualized characters from all levels of society come alive here in a mere two hundred pages.

Setting the novel in the autumn of 1913, before the outbreak of World War I, Colegate establishes her themes in the first paragraph, asking the reader to imagine an Edwardian drawing room of a country estate, with gas lamps, a log fire, and people from a long time ago, sitting and standing in groups. In the room beyond, a "fierce electric light" shines forth, overpowering the quiet, lamplit room, making it seem shadowy and the people like "beings from a much remoter past." The gentry in this snapshot are not naïve. Even they recognize that "an age, perhaps a civilization, is coming to an end," as industrialization and urbanization are changing the centers of power, and a war looms.

A lively cast of characters is invited to Sir Randolph Nettleby's 1000-acre park for a weekend shoot, and as they converse and interact, they quickly become individualized, the reader learning of their attitudes and prejudices, their understanding of the code of behavior, and the details of their very "civilized" lives.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Colegate is not a well-known author, not even in Great Britain, which is a shame because she's a first-rate novelist. The scene here is the late fall of 1913, the last pheasant season before the Great War, the true end of the old century and the beginning of the new. The setting is the Oxfordshire estate of Sir Randolph Nettleby, a thoroughly conservative but thoughtful and decent member of the landed gentry, and a famous host, as well. His guests include several ill-matched aristocratic couples, married only for reasons of finance and social standing (which opens the way to discreet affairs), and the author does a wonderful job of portraying them all in multiple dimensions -- especially Olivia and Lionel, both particularly sympathetic characters. There are also the house servants, and the beaters from the village who come out to assist in putting the pheasants overhead for the shooters -- especially the teetotaling poacher, Tom Harker, whose sudden death is the climax of the book. And there's even a wandering socialist opposed to blood sports for seriocomic relief -- though his last observation of the shooters is far from laughable. The effects of agricultural depression on the rural poor, the importance of private morality, the difference between "sport" and "competition," all are examined, satirized, and explained. At the end, she provides a "what happened to them" chapter, noting who died in the War, who survived, who had to leave town. Though I wish she had told us what happens to Ellen, the maid, and John, the footman, and to Sir Reuben, and to Tommy, who was already an army officer. Besides being interesting in its own right, this warmly written book would also be a good counterweight to _Gosford Park_.
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