You guys, I may have lost perspective on whether Liane Moriarty is a good author or not. I kinda don’t care; I’ve been devouring her novels like cupcakes. If you’re looking at the nutritional info on a cupcake, you’re doing cupcakes AND nutrition wrong. There was a long weekend, I was at the beach, and I certainly didn’t feel like A Brief History of Time.
Anyway, this book centers on middle class life in Australia, so it’s a real departure for Moriarty. (I honestly wonder if I subconsciously bump up my estimation of her skills because she writes about a place that’s unfamiliar to me, but like Tana French’s murder squad books, I think her skill is evoking a place with minimal setting descriptors. I don’t think it’s easy, I think she makes it seem easy.)
She does her usual excellent job of making the reader invested in the tangled relationships between the characters, here a hypnotherapist newly dating a widower with a son and a stalker. She’s also amazing at literal tragedies, in the classical sense – how people’s intrinsic flaws lead to catastrophic events – while writing with deep sympathy for all of her characters. She beautifully weaves together the actions taken by her characters into a seemingly inevitable conclusion while making the reader empathetic to the stubbornness, or jealousy, or curiosity that leads them to each poor choice. That’s true of each of her books, and dammit, it never gets old.