jueves, 27 de diciembre de 2018

"After the party" - Cressida Connolly

After the PartyAfter the Party by Cressida Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some people say we are living a political period quite similar to the years previous to the II World War. It is easy to draw parallelisms between the fascist parties that emerged in the 20th century with the populist parties and movements that currently are arisen. Certainly, the ideology of both sets of political groups have many points in common, but we tend to pass over the difference of the average bigger success of the nowadays lot. The horror of the war that came after the rise to power of Hitler and Mussolini makes us forget that both dictators were the only cases that obtained an unequivocal popular support while the rest of their imitators in other countries rarely achieved neither a real political influence nor institutional representation during the years previous to the war outburst.

There´s a general lack of knowledge of the real history of those fascist parties and who were their members. "After the party" introduce us to the case of the British Union of Fascist (BUF) and its inner life. The thread of the story is the life of Phyllis, a woman that belonged to the british upper medium class who returned to Great Britain in 1938 and entered into the BUF through one of her sisters, more as an imititation game in order to win friends than due to a real convincement . The ideas the sisters declare in the novel are mainly aligned with the pacifist and non-interventionist speech of the party without traces of antsemistism, and their whole "political" activity looks more as an upper class passtime than a real power game.

Even if you hold a strong ideological stance against facism, th figure of Phyllis doesn´t arise strong feeling of rebuff. She seems along the novel as a puppet of destiny who surf on perplexity, particularly at the moment United Kingdom declared war to Germany and she is arrested to be drive to an imprisonement camp with other members of the party while her sisters remained in freedom. Neither she identifies herself as an enemy of her country nor as critical cog of the party who deserves to be imprisoned.

The author manages to build the perfect atmosphere at the different moments of the novel. From the night parties of the upper class to the live in the concentration camps, every scenario looks so a plausible reconstruction of Phyllis environment that contributes to our understanding of the main character of the novel. The structure of the narrative from two different points of view, on one hand as Phyllis´s perspective at the moment of the central plot of the story and on the other hand as her memories, also help us to be impartial on the judgement of Phyllis and her ideas, as well as on her evolution from naivety to cinism.

To sum up, "After the party" is one of those rare novels with an interesting story set on an interesting historical scenario. Both of them contributes to make it a book worthy to read.

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