Read as part of CBR13bingo: flora. There are trees and plants on the cover.
If I were to teach a class on creative writing, I would without question assign one of Liane Moriarty’s books.
The only other one I’ve read of hers was Big Little Lies, mostly because her accuracy on relationship dynamics is so painfully on point that I can’t stand it. I imagine I’ll finish her catalog someday. Whether I do or not, she’s a writer that perspective writers should study. Her characters are so rich, so deep, so fully realized that you get lost in their circumstances because you are so invested.
I rocketed through the first 2/3rds of this one, which was unquestionably some of the best fiction I’ve read in 2021. A premise that I would have had no interest in otherwise gripped me and the tension just kept building and building. The characters made me laugh, cry, get angry…basically, I ran the gamut of emotions.
The final 1/3rd is a tad bit of a let down. Not a major one but enough to keep it out of 5-star range. I saw the shortcomings of Masha’s character, the central one, whose motivations don’t fully enmesh with how her story had been built. I also felt like Moriarty could have done more with Lars, as he felt like the one character too many. I don’t think the story would have missed editing him out altogether but I didn’t know that until the end. I feel like there was more room to explore; this is the rare book that could have added 30-40 pages and been fine.
But the stuff works does indeed work, particularly the examination of the physical self, of gendered/patriarchal notions on women’s bodies, and toying with the ultimate question of who we want to be in this life.