After The secret of the husband or Little secrets, big lies, the Australian writer Liane Moriarty offers us Set and match! And in this seventh novel translated into French, we will soon discover that all shots are allowed!
In 2019, Australian novelist Liane Moriarty made a nice decision: whatever projects she undertook during the year, they absolutely had to bring her a good dose of joy! So she wanted to write, of course, but not a new novel. Rather news.
“So, I asked my sister to send me suggestions to get started,” she explains by email, the 12-hour difference between Canada and Australia not facilitating telephone interviews.
"She texted me a few lines describing a recumbent bike on the side of the road with apples that had rolled on the ground right next to it," continues Liane Moriarty. It became the opening scene of Set and Match!, as it turns out I'm not good at short stories and writing novels brings me joy! »
But what to do with a good beginning if we have no idea of the continuation, if the main lines of the story have not yet been drawn? The problem was quickly resolved.
"I discovered podcasts relatively late and, like many people, I started by listening to true crime podcasts," says Liane Moriarty. Unfortunately, there have been several instances where, following a woman's disappearance, her partner was the most obvious suspect. And often that man was someone people described as a loving father. I then wondered how I would feel as an adult if my mother disappeared and the police suspected my father of having killed her. I thought that was an interesting premise because it's always hard to see our parents as ordinary, imperfect human beings, let alone people capable of murder. »
Make way for fiction
After running their own tennis school and living together for more than half a century, Stan and Joy Delaney will thus be faced with... how to say... a rather serious crisis. To put it simply, Joy is gone. No one knows where she might be, not even her four children – all of whom are well into their thirties.
To others, yes. These scratches mostly look like wrestling marks, and Stan will quickly be suspected. But what could have happened to make this couple of former tennis champions come to this?
To find out, you will first have to go back a few months, until that cold evening during which a complete stranger with a facial injury came to their door.
“I had read an article reporting an incident of the kind, specifies Liane Moriarty. A young woman had come to an elderly couple late at night asking for help. They let her spend the night at their house and unfortunately were not rewarded for their kindness... The appearance of a mysterious stranger is obviously not a new literary device, but I had never had it before used before. »
Go to the net
What is interesting with this seventh novel by Liane Moriarty is the way it is told.
Instead of always giving the floor to the same narrators, the author preferred to regularly involve people (waitress, taxi driver, beautician, cleaning lady, etc.) who, at one time or another, will come across one of the members of the Delaney clan.
“I had done something similar in my very first novel, Three Wishes, adds Liane Moriarty. And for some reason, I found myself doing it again with this one. I think I like the idea of seeing my characters through the eyes of people outside the story. It allows you to zoom out on the story! »
Little by little, we will be able to see how everything was not so rosy as that within this small family of athletes. What is moreover the trademark of Liane Moriarty: allowing us to enter the intimacy of those whom she stages and bang, surprising us by revealing things that we would never have suspected !