In the new novel by Liane Moriarty, nine foreigners gather in a wellness center where they are looking for a 10-day transformation – and eventually gain much more than negotiated. Moriarty is the author of Big Little Lies among other bestsellers and her new string tape has already been released by Nicole Kidman's production house. (Kidman played in an HBO adaptation Great little lies.)
Her protagonist, Frances Welty, is an Australian romantic novelist with a falling career and passion for wine and good food. At the age of 51, she is twice married, twice divorced, and recovers from Internet love.
"It was a lot of fun to write," says Moriarty. But – if you're wondering – it's not autobiographical. After Moriarty's husband read the novel, he emphasized that Frances was almost exactly the same as his wife: "Everyone thinks you're writing about yourself," he said.
"I know," Moriarty replied. "That's why I did it in a very charming way."
Moriarty writes about the problems and hypocrisy of the upper middle class – but with affection. "I was fascinated by the desire for wellness …" he says. "I believe in it, but at the same time I find it ridiculous."
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On the way to overnight transformation
It is just that part of modern life – the desire for immediate transformation. … When I examined this book, I went to a health center for five days (a very nice health center – it did not suffice for my art!) But I remember thinking on my way: "If I go back, I will probably be completely different . " Even if he knew it was ridiculous. But the hope that just by removing something from your diet, changing the routine … [you can] change your life by doing this one thing. … That's what I wanted to explore.
On "wellness" and "self-care"
In the modern world, we seem to have much more trouble. … we all suffer from more anxiety and depression, but at the same time, I often ask: is it because life is really so good? … If we live in a war zone, you do not think: How can I change? Just thinking about survival. …
I believe in consciousness and believe in hot stone massages. … But at the same time it is obvious that people spend a huge amount of money on ridiculous drinks and products that obviously have no advantage.
In many ways people can suffer
In my book, "The Secret of a Husband," I have the characters she controls, and she hears about some terrible atrocities in the radio … but at the same time loses her mind over the pirate party of a little girl she's been trying to organize. So it is the reality of the lives we are leading. … Just because we live in a comfortable life does not mean that we are immune from the tragedy. For every very common person, there is real pain.
Why are my books called "feminine fiction" when, in fact, women make up most of the fiction readers? Why are we "others"? Why are we subcategories?
Novelist Liane Moriarty
The term "feminine fiction"
Why are my books called "feminine fiction" when, in fact, women make up most of the fiction readers? Why are we "others"? Why are we subcategories? There should be categories called "fiction for men". Some authors would not like their books to be described as fiction for women. … Is it because we think women's fiction means they are somewhat inferior to fiction for men or other fiction?
In conversation with his friend about his first book
I called him and said, "I have a cover for my new book." And he said, "Oh, I know exactly how it will look." And I said, "Well, how do you know that?" And he said, "Well, because it's a girl's book." And he was sadly describing the book cover.
I remember the feeling of shame that I wrote a book that was "just" for the girls. What a pity I did not write a "real" book to read men – because that would mean it was a serious book and it would be a better book. …
I should accept the idea that yes, it is a "feminine fiction" because if there was a category called "fiction for men", men would not have a problem with it. … So who does she care?
Monika Evstatieva and Barrie Hardymon created and edited this interview for the broadcast. Beth Novey customized it for the site.
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