Three middle aged, middle income couples – all friends – get together for a backyard barbecue. What could be more generic? Boring? Typical? How utterly…life-changing?
Moriarty’s timeline zings back and forth from before the barbecue, to after, and before again, building the reader’s understanding of the characters’ lives and creating a tangle of backstories and aftereffects that get deeper and thicker – until the keystone of the story is suddenly dropped into place. All of a sudden, the tangle becomes a timeline, the action leaves you gasping (and re-reading the passage, to make sure you didn’t misunderstand) and you realize the brilliance of Liane Moriarty.
On the surface, this book is an amazing, character-driven story about how complex relationships can be and how your past affects your future, whether you want it to or not. In the depth of the tangle, it’s about how one night can affect the entire trajectory of the your life.