Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

This book is a bit of a guilty pleasure - not a lot of literary substance but a gripping story that's hard to put down.

The story is about nine people who check into a wellness retreat in a secluded mansion in Australia.  The group is fairly diverse - a middle aged, twice divorced woman whose career as a romance writer is flagging and who has just been burned in love; a somewhat overweight middle aged man who looks vaguely familiar to the others; a divorced single mother of 4 who is feeling overweight as her husband left her since he was no longer attracted to her; a wealthy young couple; a handsome divorce lawyer and a teacher, his midwife wife and their adult daughter.  The chapters are narrated by many of these characters in turn as well as by the Russian immigrant woman who runs the retreat and her two employees.

It is clear from the start that there is something a little bit off about Masha, the owner of the retreat.  As time passes the participants learn just how unconventional her techniques are - but it does lead them to examine their lives and their relationships (with those participants they knew previously as well as the others) which was the point of the retreat in the first place.

It was just really interesting to see how the participants reacted and evolved over their week long stay - some for better; others for worse.  I also particularly liked the end chapters which move forward in time by weeks, months, then years.

I recommend this book if you're just looking for an interesting character study with enough narrative action to keep you focused.  While it's an easy read, it's not short, so expect to take some time.

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