- Pan Macmillan Australia 2021
- ISBN 9-781760-785024
- 485 pages
From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family. Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now that they've sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to 'relax'. Their four adult children are busy living their own lives, and while it could be argued they never quite achieved their destinies, no-one ever says that out loud.
But now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents' marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes. Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?
I never cease to be amazed with what Liane Moriarty pulls into one of her novels. This one is set in Sydney in 2020, with a background of bushfires and the beginning of the global pandemic. Neither of those are really important to the plot of the book, they just give it a time frame.
If you are reading this blog, you probably want to know if this novel is crime fiction. Well, it isn't really, until right at the end, although there is plenty of mystery: the major one is what has happened to Joy? But so much of the rest of the novel, the background of what has happened to this family, and in this family, over the last 40 years, is important for us to understand what has happened to Joy.
Liane Moriarty has chosen to tell this story in the third person through the eyes of all the major characters in turn, while switching between the events of September/October 2019 and ‘now’, which is approximately February and March 2020.
There is such a lot to discuss after reading this novel. The publisher's site provides a Readers Guide of 50 questions which will be useful if you are having a group discussion - see the Book Club Notes link on the publisher's page at https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760785024/
The novel took me quite a long time to read, but it was certainly worth it.
I'm still puzzled by the title - like me you can probably call to mind an old adage but the title of the book doesn't give the full adage. If you can work it out - leave a comment.
My rating: 4.7
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