IF ONLY THEY’D SAID NO…
What if they hadn’t gone? That’s the question Clementine can’t stop asking herself. It was just a backyard barbeque. They didn’t know their hosts that well. They were friends of friends. They could so easily have said no.
But she and her husband Sam said yes, and now they can never change what they did and didn’t do that beautiful winter’s day.
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One yapping dog. It’s a normal weekend in the suburbs. What could possibly go wrong?
Once again Liane Moriarty uses her unique, razor-sharp observational skills to sift through the emerging fault lines of seemingly happy families.
It was just an ordinary Sunday afternoon…
Review by Caroline Baum
Moriarty, the queen of Australian suburban noir, sets up an intriguing multi-layered scenario that hinges on something terrible happening at a barbecue - just as it did, famously, in Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap. Her characters may be more genteel on the surface, but their secrets are just as dark: Erika is still recovering from the trauma and shame caused by her mother’s compulsive hoarding habit. Now she and her husband Oliver, who have long been a childless couple by choice, have decided they want to start a family, and have asked Erika’s childhood friend Clementine, who already has two daughters, to help. But Clementine has her own problems to contend with.
Moriarty tackles topical everyday issues with affectionate but deadly accuracy, playing on her characters' insecurities in ways that allows the reader to recognise themselves. Every kind of anxiety and relationship wrinkle is mined for maximum potential in an elegantly choreographed dance between Erika, Clementine, their husbands and the neighbours Vid and Tiffany, who invite them over for a barbecue in their-over-the-top opulently landscaped backyard. It’s a lot of fun. And Moriarty pulls it off with a touch as light as a perfect scone.