All the ingredients are here to make Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers another standout — brilliant characters, sharp insight into human relationships, and laugh-out loud wit — but this time round, an unconvincing, and in my eyes, an outlandish plot twist — the actions of a certain character, preposterously villainous, almost James Bond-ish — marred the final third. Don’t get me wrong; Nine Perfect Strangers is as addictive a page-turner as Moriarty’s other work, and I loved spending my time in the heads of these nine (perfect) strangers during their ill-fated ten-day retreat; but this time round, the plot just felt a little too obviously manipulated.
As always with a Liane Moriarty novel, the plot is deceptively simple. In the case of Nine Perfect Strangers, nine stressed city dwellers — burdened by a smorgasbord of worries — arrive at Tranquillum House, which promises healing and transformation. Every attendee hopes to be transformed and reinvigorated: romance novelist Frances, for example, has just been mightily stung by an online scammer; while Napoleon, Heather and their daughter are still struggling to come to terms with the death of their son. The resort director watching over them is a woman named Masha; and she is not to be trifled with. A former hot-shot corporate type with a tragic past, she is determined to reshape her clients — no matter what the cost.
Although it deals with some heavy themes, the laugh-out-loud humour that regularly punctuates interactions between the cast makes Nine Perfect Strangers an absolute blast from start to finish. It’s a sharp-eyed, often touching portrait of the fractured lives of disparate strangers, and the unlikely ties that bind them together. Despite my misgivings about a certain plot element, there is no denying Liane Moriarty’s irresistible storytelling. This is pure, riotous entertainment from start to finish.
Format: Paperback (233mm x 154mm x mm)
Imprint: Macmillan Australia
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publish Date: 18-Sep-2018
Country of Publication: Australia