The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Blog Tour

Introductory Blog Tour Teaser!

Author Q&A

Since you became a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to happen to you?

I am trying to choose between two memories. The first is of sitting on a Sydney ferry and seeing the woman next to me open her handbag and pull out a copy of my first novel, Three Wishes. She then proceeded to read it. As if it was a real book! Until then I’d secretly wondered whether the whole process of publication had been a giant (cruel) practical joke.

The second memory is of sitting on my back steps watching my son play in the yard, while I was on a conference call with my literary agent, a film agent, and a Hollywood film producer. The producer was buying the film rights for What Alice Forgot. “We were thinking of someone like Jennifer Aniston or Reese Witherspoon for the role of Alice,” he said, just as my little boy bellowed, “I’m hungry!” It was quite surreal.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To fly. I know everybody has dreams about flying, but mine feel so very real. Each time I dream-fly, I think, “That’s right, of course I can fly—how could I have forgotten!” I have a friend who claps her hands to make herself fly in her dreams. That’s ridiculous. I gracefully flap my arms and point my toes.

What fictional character do you have a crush on?

Patrick Pennington from the series by the British author K. M.Peyton, beginning with Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer. I read these YA books as a fourteen-year-old and fell deeply in love with Patrick. He was a big, brooding, leather-jacket-wearing bad boy, who got into trouble a lot but played the piano like an angel. I still swoon at the thought of his big grazed knuckles (from punching walls and the like) caressing the piano keys. Ah, Patrick. It’s probably your fault that I took so long to find the right man.

How did you get the idea for the novel?

Two years ago I stumbled upon a fascinating article about real-life deathbed confessions. I learned about Christian Spurling, who confessed on his deathbed to faking a notorious photo of the Loch Ness Monster. There was a famous songwriter who was dying of cancer who wrote a letter admitting, after years of adamant denials, that she had plagiarized a lullaby melody. Then there was the hapless man who, after suffering a stroke, confessed he’d killed his neighbour thirty years earlier. The only problem was that he didn’t end up dying. After he was released from hospital, he went straight to jail. These stories, particularly the one about the man who didn’t die, got me thinking. I was intrigued by that overwhelming desire to share your darkest secret. So I came up with the idea of a man who feels such a powerful desire to share a secret that he sits down and writes a letter to his wife, to be opened in the event of his death. It’s a deathbed confession, except he’s not dead.


What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?

I read in bed, read in the bath, read in the TV commercials, sleep, eat chocolate, work off all that chocolate in gym classes, ski (not that I ski every weekend, but I thought I should mention something outdoorsy), and now it occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned my children, and I don’t know how I could have forgotten them, because they are currently with the babysitter, screaming their darling little heads off in the hallway just outside my office door. What I actually do when I’m not writing is take care of my five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, and I like that very much.

My review of ‘The Husband’s Secret’ will be published on Tuesday 2nd September when the Blog Tour bus pulls into town – see you then!

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Title: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Jerome K Jerome

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Title: Three Men in a Boat

Author: Jerome K. Jerome

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Publication Date: 25th March 2004 (first published 1889)

Paperback: 224 pages

Why did I choose to read this book? It’s my Dad’s favourite book and he bought it for me for my birthday this year.

Where to read? It might be the obvious choice but a weekend trip on a barge along the Thames would be the perfect venue – just make sure you take someone along to deal with all the locks!

Alternatively if this is a bit of a daunting idea then go and sit on the banks of your local river or a cafe like the ‘Tide Table Cafe’ in Richmond.

Refreshments:Being quintessentially British sandwiches and scones (with lashings of clotted cream naturally) is the order of the day washed down with mugs of tea

Review:

A motley crew of hypochondriac friends and their canine sidekick take to the Thames for a few days holiday. Dreams of merrily boating up the river and enjoying feasts and ribaldry around the campfire are soon dashed as they find themselves dealing with the difficulties of navigating, towing not to mention the interminable British summer weather. These incidents are wonderfully interjected with various anecdotes from the characters’ lives thereby creating a novella that represents beautifully the spirit of the Victorian period.

The story is narrated by the character J. He is typically British and his monologue is ripe with observational humour on his society. The self-diagnosis and hypochondria that afflicts him and his friends is only really relevant to the beginning of the story and is a warning to anyone who is about to click on the NHS website with their own suspicions. Their final analysis does however prove pivotal to the story and leads us rather theatrically to the boat trip itself.

The thing I enjoyed most about the book was the continuous digression from actual events. As a reader we’re taken on a journey not only down the Thames but through the characters’ lives, thanks to the frequent anecdotes brought to life by our protagonist. The most notable referred to George and his alarm clock and his resulting night time excursions. I’ll leave you to discover the finer details.

There aren’t really words to describe these characters other than lovable buffoons. This is because I defy anyone not to recognise one of their experiences reflected in their own lives. Their somewhat spontaneous decision to go on this trip and lack of thinking it through properly leads to a series of ridiculous eventualities. The incident with Harris’ scrambled eggs and the attempts to open a tin of pineapple chunks by bashing the hell out of it brought back, not so distant, memories of trying to open a corked bottle of wine with a number of implements all of which weren’t a bottle opener.

Overall this is a heart-warming and classically British story that can be picked up and read over and over again without ever getting old – largely because friends will always end up doing ridiculous things together.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Book Review: ‘The Suicide Shop’ by Jean Teulé

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Title: The Suicide Shop

Author: Jean Teulé (translated by Sue Dyson)

Publisher: Gallic Books

Publication Date: 1st July 2008

Paperback: 160

Why did I choose to read this book? The title, naturally.

Where to read? Well due to the macabre subject I think it’s high time to take a seat in your local crypt cafe.

There’s a lovely one in St Martin’s, London or St Peter’s Church, Huddersfield. Have a search for your local underground experience.

Refreshments:You’ll understand why as you read the book but pancakes is the order of the day or should I say crêpes? My favourtie is good old sugar and lemon as a topping but be as adventurous as you like!

Review:

The world is a depressing place to live. Poverty, famine, war. Civilization has put Earth on a path to self-destruct so it’s not surprising that many individuals want to put an end to the their own suffering. Thankfully the Tuvache family have this particular problem covered in the guise of The Suicide Shop. Hanging rope? Rusty Razors? You name it they have the provisions fit for every wallet that walks through their shop door. Unfortunately, the youngest member of their morbid family has other ideas, a genuine love for life.

In true french style this story takes a depressing topic and makes you laugh and smile simply by confronting social realities with a tongue in cheek whimsical attitude.The range of ways the Tuvache family offer to kill oneself is vast and brilliantly entertaining, from masks made out of chicken carcass to condoms with holes in so you can catch syphilis there’s something for everyone and every gender.

Each of the family members have a very unique identity and one which is described in an intensely detailed manner so that it is very easy to create a visual image of this grim troupe. My favourite is Vincent, who for reasons never fully explained, has the entire upper part of his head swathed in bandages and is the inventor of the family. However, Lucrèce, the matriach of the family, comes a close second especially at the beginning of the book and her frustrations with her youngest son. ‘I’d rather have given birth to a nest of vipers than bring up that ridiculous child,’ is one of her more eloquent exclamations.

Alan is quite obviously the centre of this entire story and with his ‘da-da, doobi-doobi’ songs, smiles and spontaneous compliments it’s not long before he has infected people with his positive attitude. A fact which is obviously bad for business. The effect of his sunny demeanour in the face of the negative forces at work in the world is probably the best self-help guide you’ll find on any book shelves in any bookshop.

This is a very easy book to read in fact it will probably only take you a lazy Sunday afternoon to flip through the pages. However, that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and refreshingly sardonic not to mention it taught me an interesting myth about Alan Turing.

Rating: 8 out of 10… plus why not check out the french animation film.