The Party, by Robyn Harding, is getting a lot of buzz—it's a Canadian Loan Stars pick for June 2017 and tops more than a few summer reading lists. Pitched as as a cross between Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party is a gripping and unsettling tale of domestic drama that goes very wrong. And in this Q&A, Robyn Harding tells us where the story came from, the surprisingly joys of writing dark, and how to make the reader keep turning the page.
49th Shelf: A “good” family, “good” parents, an innocent sweet sixteen party: what could go wrong? Apart from everything. With what did this story begin for you, and how did it grow?
Robyn Harding: This story began with my own teenaged children. As responsible parents, my husband and I had to discuss substance use with our kids and set boundaries. But I learned that many parents still follow the adage: “They’re going to drink anyway, I’d rather they do it at home.” I started to think about the risks of this parenting choice. What if something terrible happened to a child who was drinking in your home? Or what if your child was hurt while drinking at a friend’s house? How would this affect everyone involved: the parents, the kids, th …