NYR iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Sadie Jones

GET UPDATES FROM Sadie Jones
 

The 7 Best Dinner Parties In Literature And Film

Posted: 05/04/2012 5:14 pm

My novel The Uninvited Guests [Harper, $24.99] has as a centerpiece a dinner party. It is April 1912. A small celebration is being held at Sterne, the beloved but dilapidated country house that is home to the Torrington family. The dinner is beset with all kinds of disasters: culinary, emotional and metaphysical. There has been a train accident nearby and the many survivors are wandering about the house waiting to be collected by the railway. One of their number is not content to be left out of the birthday party and insinuates himself into the group. He is a charismatic, devilish fellow and when he suggests a parlour game of his devising the little party find they are powerless to resist playing. The game is called Hinds and Hounds, and the gist of it is that the diners, mimicking the behaviour of dogs in a deer hunt, are to separate out the hinds - the weaker amongst their fellow guests - one by one. The game, and the party, reach a crisis; revelations and unsavoury secrets are unearthed, and the path of the evening takes a very dark turn. It struck me that there are many such pivotal parties in literature, either comical or dramatic, glamorous, unpleasant, or just plain uncomfortable - as novelists, playwrights and filmmakers through the generations imprison their characters around a table and take note of the consequences. Here are just a few:

Alice in Wonderland
1  of  8
PLAY
FULLSCREEN
ZOOM
SHARE THIS SLIDE 
What more surreal and crazy gathering could one find in all literature? The tea party, attended by the Hatter himself, a dormouse which keeps falling asleep, and the March Hare. They all change places at the table with no warning, make personal remarks, ask impossible riddles of one another and recite bizarre poetry. It is - not completely unlike The Uninvited Guests' dinner party - an anarchic upending of the rigid social rituals of the time.
RATE IT!   |  
VOTE
CURRENT TOP 5 PICK YOUR OWN TOP 5
USERS WHO VOTED
NEW! CREATE YOUR OWN SLIDESHOW