Mo­ri­arty serves up laughs, thrills, sur­prises

The Korea Times - - BOOKS - (AP)

Life is good for Liane Mo­ri­arty. The “Big Lit­tle Lies” nov­el­ist who part­nered with ac­tress Nicole Kid­man to turn that book into a hit HBO se­ries, sold the rights to her new novel, “Nine Per­fect Strangers,” to her Aus­tralian friend be­fore the rest of us could even read it.

So let’s help them out and do some cast­ing. Kid­man, with a lit­tle ex­tra pad­ding and lots of red lip­stick, can star as Frances Welty, the ro­mance nov­el­ist with a bro­ken heart who is the emo­tional cen­ter of “Nine Per­fect Strangers.” Eight more ac­tors with name recog­ni­tion will join the project once she’s of­fi­cially on­board.

The key cast­ing de­ci­sion will be the an­tag­o­nist, Masha, a for­mer cor­po­rate exec turned health and well­ness zealot. She needs to be beau­ti­ful, but se­vere. Driven and but­toned-up, but also a lit­tle un­hinged. Rus­sian, or Eastern Euro­pean. Milla Jovovich, maybe?

Luck­ily, be­fore the se­ries comes to a screen near you, you can spend a few hours with the book. It’s a quick read, pop­u­lated by the ti­tle char­ac­ters who sign up for a re­treat at Tran­quil­lum House, a re­sort in Syd­ney that prom­ises per­sonal trans­for­ma­tion in just 10 days.

The first half of the 450-page novel is a lit­tle slow, but once the nine guests com­plete their five-day “noble si­lence,” the pace ac­cel­er­ates and the story moves from a se­ries of char­ac­ter per­spec­tives (each chap­ter ti­tle is a char­ac­ter’s name) to a light-hearted thriller. As soon as the strangers can talk, they find them­selves with a lot to talk about.

“Nine Per­fect Strangers” by Liane Mo­ri­arty

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