Big Little Lies

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The best of the year in books so far

PileofBooksIt’s half way through 2015 and time for a literary stock take of my year so far. The bare statistics underpinning six months of reading pleasure are: total number of books – 55 books consisting of 50 novels, three works of non-fiction, one book of poetry and one play. The gender breakdown was 33 women writers and 22 male, drawn from 13 countries, with the largest number coming from Australia and Great Britain. Below are my ten favourite books (so far), not in any particular order as just selecting the ten was hard enough. One of Us by Asne Seirstad, Waiting for the Past by Les Murray and The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna deserve a special mention because they would have been on the list if the Top 10 was actually a Top13.

  • Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  • Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • River of Fire by Amitav Ghosh
  • The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango
  • One Life by Kate Grenville
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock
  • Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Full list:

Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies takes us into the dark inner world that’s hidden all around us

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Somehow, despite her phenomenal success9781743533062
internationally, I had never read one of Liane Moriarty’s books until picking up her latest, Big Little Lies. The setting is parochial, centering around the Pirriwee Public School on Sydney’s affluent north shore in Australia and the parents, of the children who go there. In particular she focuses on Madeline, just turned 40 with a penchant for designer clothes, re-married to the dependable Ed and with a but trying to deal with her former husband moving back into the area with his new wife and young daughter; Celeste the beautiful mother of twin boys leading an idyllic life married to a wealthy entrepreneur; and down-to-earth single mum Jane, a newcomer to the area who won’t identify the father of her son, Ziggy, and whom Madeline adopts into her group. Lining up across the playground are the opposing faction, the “blonde bobs”.

It would have been easy to fall into parody and clichés when describing the women but Moriarty’s characters are nuanced and believable. Although she says she has not based


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