The Uninvited Guests
By Sadie Jones
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062116512, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 2013
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One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor—and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.
Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.
The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
Sadie Jones is the author of the novels The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in the United Kingdom and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; and Small Wars, a tale of love, war, and honor, which was published to critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic. The Uninvited Guests is her third novel. Sadie Jones lives in London.
A dark and stormy night, an isolated manor house and a knock at the door all play a part in Sadie Jones' delicious romp of a novel. Set in Edwardian England, it tracks a noble but cash-strapped family whose lavish dinner plans go awry when they're asked to shelter a crowd of refugees. More at NPR.org
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“A comedy of manners that turns downright surreal…Jones’s effervescent writing keeps the course steady-even as her characters shed their civilized veneers.”
-Ellen Shapiro, People Four Star Review
“Entertaining…Jones is a writer of admirable narrative energy…with a painfully accurate, almost Stoppardian ear for dialogue and a delightful streak of cruelty that flirts with…the gothic.”
-Lev Grossman, Time Magazine
“Vividly atmospheric…niftily deceptive…a story of shattered snobbery, transformation of character and in the end a surprising and eerily beautiful portrait of compassion…A sublimely clever book.”
-Mary Pols, San Francisco Chronicle
“Delicious…comparisons with Downton Abbey will be both inevitable and fair.”
-Wall Street Journal
“…THE UNINVITED GUESTS…defied my expectations. I saw none of it coming. I read it in one breathless sitting, and finished wanting to give it to everyone I know.”
-Maile Meloy, Nationally Bestselling Author of BOTH WAYS IS THE ONLY WAY I WANT IT
“What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen,…I was captivated by its madcap nature and then, unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became.”
-Sarah Blake, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE POSTMISTRESS
“A brilliant novel…At once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class…so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment.”
-Ann Patchett, New York Times Bestselling Author of STATE OF WONDER
“What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors…in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller.”
-Jacqueline Winspear, New York Times Bestselling Author of ELEGY FOR EDDIE
“A remarkable dark comedy...Jones’s characters are delightfully eccentric, the wit delightfully droll, and the prose simply delightful. But for all its charm, this is a serious book…”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A delightful, eerie novel…Jones expertly balances the whimsical and the strange, building things to a climax of abandon, terror and restitution…Engrossing, enjoyable.”
-Philip Womack, Telegraph
“Excellent characterization…a plot sprinkled with hints of secrets to be revealed…a page-turning read that blurs the edges of the country house mystery.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“Jones’ clever prose and bright tone heighten her characters and setting…she adroitly draws the layers of character that are exposed as shameful secrets come to light.”
“Enthralling…An English countryside setting, an ever-twisting plot, and gorgeously precise writing add up to one delightful novel.”
-Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine
“Exhilaratingly strange and darkly funny…veers off in a wildly surprising direction, and the way it plays out is delightful, sexy, moving-even profound…Will haunt you-but happily.”
“Delightful and unexpected…These well-imagined characters serve to raise stakes the reader cares about. They move beyond archetypes, becoming something unexpectedly rich and engaging.”
-Robin Vivimos, Denver Post
“’Downton Abbey’ takes a turn for the supernatural in Sadie Jones’s stylishly eccentric comedy of manners THE UNINVITED GUESTS...Anglophiles who admire a biting sense of humor and a tinge of the Gothic, pull up a chair.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“Ms. Jones’s comedy of manners, which takes place over a single evening in 1912, gleefully exposes the family members’ snobbery… The author can’t resist harassing the Torringtons with the menace in the next room…”
-New York Times
“…a delicious romp to read…Jones’ novel is as tightly constructed as one of those elaborate corsets that the Crawley women squeeze into to sashay around the drawing rooms at Downton.”
-Maureen Corrigan, NPR
“An enchanted new novel…[with] the sly, subversive dexterity of a Mozart opera or Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’”
“The author’s command of period archness tips its hat to a pantheon of social satirists: Luis Buñuel in cahoots with Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. Jones’s caustic takedown of 1-percenter exceptionalism arrives like a divine gift to occupying party poopers everywhere.”
-New York Times Book Review
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org