Nine perfect strangers


Another disappointing read; which comes as a surprise since it’s the same author who wrote the brilliant and engaging Big Little Lies (talk about pressure!). But let’s talk about this book. True to the title, nine strangers gather at this posh health retreat, which is being run by this impeccably intelligent woman, Masha, in a true dominatrix fashion. Each of the characters are dealing with various mental and physical issues and have come to this programme with the hope of finding their soul and hence heal their mind and body. However Masha, instead of using the usual wellness therapies, tries psychedelic therapy on these guests involving LSD, magic mushrooms and Ecstasy. What follows is an unstructured chaos with each of these guests trying to sort out their issues and others’ , through hallucinations essentially.

The issues of divorce, bereavement, body shaming, lack of self worth, midlife crisis, cosmetic surgery, catfishing , etc are dealt with in a very superficial manner. None of the characters feel truly messed up or damaged. It still feels as if, even their genuine problems have a privileged first world charm to it. After a laborious 450+ pages, the climax is sappy and predictable. Yawn!

Side bar: I have become intrigued about psychedelic therapy. Anyone know anyone?? 🤫