Book review: Nine perfect strangers by Liane Moriaty

Posted on Nov 28 2018 - 9:00am by Claire Herbaux

Let me tell you I have complete trust in Liane Moriaty.

I love books you can’t fit into a category (aside from general ‘fiction’) but it is also a gamble. It could turn out to be a topic you aren’t interested in. At least with crime you know what you get, just like with fiction. But that also means you know where the story is headed. Sometimes it is fun to read without knowing where the book will take you. And I trust Moriaty to take me on such a journey, because I know I won’t regret it.

A bit like in Big Little Lies, which started out sounding like a group of adults gossiping at the school gate until the first chapter ended with the words ‘This is a murder investigation”, for most of this book I didn’t know if it was going to be a story about healing or about murder.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell you. I will let you take that journey. But believe me when I say that whatever Moriaty writes, she takes you with her. One of the nine perfect strangers will be the one you identify with and you will buy into the health resort idea (I found myself looking up options to see if I would try it). But is it what it seems? Surely it all seems a bit extreme. And Masha, the head of this retreat, has something odd about her. In her radiant white clothes and talking about her experience with death and being reborn, she sounds almost like a sci-fi character (not that I am trying to categorise the book of course). Something is definitely off. But how far would Moriaty go to diverge from the typical domestic dramas each of the nine strangers is bringing to the retreat? Surely this is about how the Macronis deal with the loss of their son and brother, how Frances gets over her bad review and the fact that she fell for an internet dating scam?

It couldn’t possibly end with them being murdered or brainwashed into a cult? Most of the time, I honestly didn’t know the answer. And I won’t tell you.

All I can say is that, as usual with Moriaty, you will empathise with the characters. They are real, they are flawed, and you are likely to find yourself in one of them. And all you can do is to embark on the journey even if you don’t know where it will take you.

Nine Perfect Strangers is published by Penguin as a hardcover.

The paperback will be available in March 2019.

ISBN: 780718180294

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