Truly Madly Guilty is a delicious feast of a novel with a teasing mystery that will keep you flipping pages, desperate to find out what could have possibly turned a spontaneous Sunday barbecue in suburban Sydney into a disaster. What happened to send each of the six characters spinning off on their own quiet course of torment?
Author Liane Moriarty has built a cast of complex and flawed characters. Long after the mystery of the barbecue is revealed, you’ll want to hang around to find out how each of their stories wrap-up. There’s cellist Clementine and her husband Sam, whose sex life has predictably gone stale after the birth of their two daughters, Holly and Ruby. They both secretly suspect it’s a sign their marriage is ending. Then there is reticent, type A personality Erika, haunted by her childhood with a chronic hoarder. Erika adores her best friend Clementine to the point of suffocation. Her quiet husband Oliver perhaps doesn’t realise just how much his wife reveres her friend. Erika’s neighbours, sexy Tiffany and her carefree husband Vid, hosts of the disastrous barbecue are both so self-absorbed that their parenting borders on careless.
Moriarty drops hints and clues throughout, and it’s fun to piece the story together. There are unexpected connections and plot twists lurking everywhere, even in the ending. There are painful scenes, because…well, life. Oliver’s memories of a childhood growing up with alcoholic parents or Tiffany’s lonely old neighbour Harry, who time and again refuses friendly help or even a home-baked quiche. Unexpected one liners provide bursts of original and welcome humour. Moriarty is at her best when she writes about friendship and the awkward and bitchy relationships that fester between women who have known each other a long tim
Excellent fodder for bookclubs; read Truly, Madly, Guilty if you liked The Slap, or Offspring.