I had to take a break from reading this at the weekend after getting drunk and leaving it in my friend’s bag, but I was desperate to get it back for the last few chapters! The Last Anniversary was packed with characters and I’m pretty sure I cared about each and every one of them. Even the ones that aren’t that nice.
Even with so many characters it felt that there was no detail that didn’t later become important. Details about allergies, phone conversations, memories of the past all come back to tie up a loose end that I didn’t even realise was left; even a brief reference to a local mystery later becomes one of my favourite moments in the book. I really cannot stress how well plotted and thought out the story and characters were.
One of the things I kind of touched on in my last review of a Liane Moriarty book was the unique way she has of setting out her books. Whereas in Big Little Lies the main events were sandwiched between journalist interviews, in The Last Anniversary we get occasional, short, chapters of just speech. No names, no context, but the voices are so strong that they seen like a little fly on the wall snippet of their lives.
I think one of the major reasons Liane Moriarty is one of my favourite authors is that she has this incredible way of making the most serious subjects seem somehow funny. Not in a mocking way, not in a way that downplays life’s tragedies, but in a way that makes it seem more human. It’s a natural humour to the things in life that are otherwise entirely terrible. Over the course of reading her books there’s been, in no particular order; murder, domestic violence, suicide attempts, sexual assault, rape, fraud, brain damage and postnatal depression. But they’re treated with such sympathy and gentle humour that they’re rendered altogether more human.
I’m biased. I love Liane Moriarty. I loved this book. But I think I had good reason.