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Published October 22nd 2019
Visiting a Health Retreat Has Never Been Like This
Photo courtesy Booktopia
It seemed harmless enough. In fact, for 9 guests seeking a spiritual, physical and emotional transformational experience, going to the Tranquillium House Health Retreat seemed like a perfectly good idea.
In contrast to the book's title, these strangers are far from perfect and are dealing with their own demons including grief, rejection, newfound wealth, and life after elite sport. So to help them find vitality from their pains, they each sign up for some time out from their routines expecting rejuvenation and possibly hot springs, massages and art therapy.
But under the guidance of the Centres' alluring, disturbed and delusional Russian born "transformational Leader", Masha and her assistants Yao and Delilah, they soon come to realise that the alternative therapies of Tranquillium House may not be at all what they expected. Masha believes that "for dramatic results, you need dramatic action. We're taking them out of their comfort zone. That's when growth occurs."
When dramatic action includes unorthodox treatments include micro-dosing hallucinogenic drugs as part of psychedelic therapy and unknowingly being locked in the yoga room, well, things take a turn for the worst. We come to see that it is, in fact, Masha who is dealing with her own demons.
Soon these "strangers" form a bond over the unexpected and dire circumstances that they find themselves in. They cross generations, shared interests and beliefs, they all share a common desire to find happiness, contentment and freedom. Do they? Will they form a lasting friendship after their Tranquillium House experience. More importantly, will they find the happiness and content they seek?
Conclusion This was my first read by the popular novelist Liane Moriarty. At first, I found it a bit slow but the story moves quickly after the twist kicks in at the 300-page mark. It draws on the modernity of life – our technological busyness, fractured relationships and poor body image as well as everyone's fundamental desire to find inner peace, harmony and well-being.
Moriarty tackles these topics with humour and has assembled a crazy (literally) mix of characters which we have all probably come across at some stage. She ties up the ending with a neat bow leaving no question of the characters lives after their "transformational experience".
I can now see why her books have been easily adapted and popularised on the small screen (starring Nicole Kidman) and sold millions of copies worldwide. It made me giggle, it kept me guessing but more than that it reminded that our lives can be turned around after challenge and pain. Nine Perfect Strangers is published by Pan Macmillan.
Photo courtesy facebook
About Liane Moriarty Liane is now a full-time author. She has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages. She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter.