Moriarty serves up laughs, thrills, surprises
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