Nine Perfect Strangersby Published 06 Nov 2018
|Nine Perfect Strangers.pdf|
Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out...
Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.
Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?
It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.
Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.
Nine Perfect Strangers Reviews
I never, ever thought I'd say this about a Liane Moriarty novel but...what a terrible, boring, pointless novel!
I really disliked this one. Couldn't wait for it to be over, actually. It was so boring and also claustrophobic at the same time, giving me a sense of desperation for these people to just be set free already. For the life of me I could not understand what the purpose of this book was. It didn't even sound like a Moriarty.
I am still a fan of the author and will for sure give her another try when the next novel comes out but this one? Wow, what a waste of my time...
DNFed at 56%
This book was shit. There I said it.
I don't say this often nor lightly but this book had zero redeeming qualities. Having read and loved Big Little Lies (a bit to my surprise!), I was excited to read Moriarty's newest work.
In BLL, her characters were attaching and made me care about their stories. In this one, I'm assuming she meant for the characters to not be so loveable but damn... I also hated how much shit the "Instagram model" got. We get it, you judge them and their plastic surgeries, no need to mention it every time she appears.
The "twist" that happens at 55% made me put the book down because honestly at this point the book is a fucking mess.
No thank you. Don't recommend.
HER BEST YET.
I said to my husband recently... I just love the way I feel when I’m reading a Liane Moriarty book. Like I'm surrounded by lovely, neurotic, warm, friends. And Liane has done it again with this wonderful book about nine strangers who go to a health retreat. As always, Liane's observations about life are just so damn spot on. Frances was my favourite guest, but the rest of the gang—Napoleon, Tony, Heather, Ben, Jessica, Carmel, Zoe, Yao... even Masha—I adored them too. I sort of wanted to go to that retreat ... and then I didn’t. I really didn't. The book is funny and sad and touching, and full of wisdom. All the feels. I feel so lucky to have read an early copy.
A slow starter halfway through and it wasn’t grabbing me then BAM, things started to happen...but seriously how does she do it!? Get into the heads of her characters, like she has a window into the thought patterns of people. It’s uncanny and it’s such a skilled craft! If nothing else I’m obsessed with the way that she uncovers her characters individual foibles and indiosyncracies in the most amusing and hilarious ways poking fun at so many common cliches and stereotypes it’s hard not to snigger along at the characters expense but all light heartedly of course! In all her characters there is always something to relate to even if intially you find nothing in common from the outer. Anyway I have no plans to discuss the plot, read this if your already a big fan of Liane Moriarty’s books, if not then this book won’t change your mind. I can state I don’t care so much for plot when reading her books I just enjoy the journey getting there. It’s always entertaining.
Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don't notice it at all until one day you wake up and think, 'How did I get here?' But other times, life changes in an instant with a lightning stroke of good or bad luck with glorious or tragic consequences.
This book is weird, because it’s sort of a meta-thriller-character-exploration that has no genre and hates genre convention, and what’s perhaps even weirder is that um… this is Liane Moriarty’s brand now.
I find it really interesting how Liane Moriarty’s brand has become thrillers that aren’t about the horror element, and how aware of that she is. With books like her two last, Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty, she's used the thriller conceit to tell stories about the everyday horror that comes with domesticity and being a woman. I felt like she did this perfectly with Big Little Lies, but that the thriller conceit was ridiculous in Truly Madly Guilty. Here, I think she's truly leaned in to her talents for character development.
The thing is that what she lacks in actual suspense, she makes up for with interesting characters and some cool messages hidden under a simple story.
She remembered her first-ever boyfriend of over thirty years ago, who told her he preferred smaller breasts than hers, while his hands were on her breasts, as if she’d find this interesting, as if women’s body parts were dishes on a menu and men were the goddamned diners.
This is what she said to that first boyfriend: “Sorry.”
This was her first boyfriend’s benevolent reply: “That’s okay.”
Frances is a struggling romance novelist going for a weekend away to try and revamp her life after another bad experience with romance.
Napoleon, Heather, and Zoe are a family who seem far more perfect on the outside than they are on the inside. Zoe was arguably my favorite character in the book; compared to several other characters, she is perhaps the most rational. And while Napoleon and Heather aren’t quite as central, each has a lot of development and emotional conflict: there's this moment where they just hold hands and yet it is so amazing.
The characters don't end there; Ben and Jessica are a struggling young couple having a conflict over their previous lottery win. Carmel is a young mother dealing with body-image issues after her husband has left her for a younger woman. Lars is a divorce lawyer still attempting to retroactively fix his mother’s situation and in just a bit of conflict with his husband Ray; he was one of my favorite characters. Tony is an ex-football player attempting to change his life up again.
Together, they make up the title's nine perfect strangers, all trying to change their lives. And what I enjoyed the most is that all of these characters have their idiosyncrasies, and aren't particularly likable, but all manage to gain your sympathy anyway.
Perhaps the novel’s biggest problem is that the thriller aspect is really nothing but a ridiculous framing device, and doesn’t actually cause that much conflict to be brought to life. This is not fixed by the pacing issues — the beginning of the novel is far too long, and while the payoff for all her setup is fantastic, I thought she could have streamlined the middle by integrating character development into the plot with far more care. The novel’s tenth and eleventh character, Marsha & Yao, both get good development, but their role in the narrative itself is somewhat overextended at times.
That being said, the payoff truly is excellent. The book ends its chosen arcs with about eight different quality character endings, including but not limited to an amicable marital breakup that subverts expectations, a sendup of romance novels & commentary on the thriller genre, a very sweet coming-to-jesus moment for one couple, and an excellent and very feminist ending for one woman.
release date: 12 November 2018
✨Arc received from Flatiron for an honest review.
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