A mesmerizing plot

A mesmerizing plot


Written a good ten years ago, this fourth novel by Australian writer Liane Moriarty gives another face to harassment.

It is always interesting to discover the “old novels” from an author we've been following for a while now. This is the case with Amours et autres obsessions, which the Australian Liane Moriarty published in 2011. A few years before she signed the immense best-sellers that were The Husband's Secret, Little Secrets, Big Lies and NEgg Perfect Strangers

Having just been translated into French, this book takes us directly to Sydney, where Ellen O'Farrell practices as a hypnotherapist. A profession that is off the beaten path, but for which she is frankly gifted. 

« I have always been fascinated by hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and I liked the idea of a more “alternative” character, mentions by email Liane Moriarty. I could have made Ellen a therapist or a psychologist, but then she would have reacted far too sensibly! The hypnotherapy just made it more interesting. 

Whether we come to consult her to quit smoking, manage unexplained pain or fight anxiety, Ellen is unparalleled. On the other hand, his love life was never a success. At least until now. Because since she met Patrick, an independent expert surveyor, she really begins to think that he could well be the right one. The only downside? His ex-girlfriend, Saskia. Not because he is still in love with her, but because she harasses him very diligently. 

And according to Patrick, it has been going on for three years.  < /p>

Switch to the dark side 

“The idea for this book came from a personal experience,” says Liane Moriarty. I once dated a man who was being stalked by his ex-girlfriend. Since she was apparently a career woman who was doing well in life, I was curious to know what could have caused her to behave like this. So I decided to make a book out of it and researched the psychology of bullying, which helped me create the character of Saskia. ”

“I wanted a character that was very different from the stereotypical stalker you see in most books and movies, namely a tall, scary man who cuts out letters from a magazine in his basement,” continues Liane Moriarty. . I wanted the reader to end up sympathizing with Saskia, without necessarily endorsing her actions. ”

So at first, this strange harassment case will not bother Ellen at all. To tell the truth, she will even find it rather fascinating. How does an “ordinary” woman can she come to want to follow a man everywhere and bombard him with letters, emails and text messages despite common sense? Ellen would like nothing better than to try to figure it out.

But as interesting as it is, this singular situation will soon become downright disturbing. Partly because, unbeknownst to her, Saskia slipped incognito among the clients who regularly call on her talents as a hypnotherapist…

A real obsession

If Ellen's point of view (written in the third person) is captivating, Saskia's (written in the first person) is probably even more so. Skilfully passing from one to the other over the pages, Liane Moriarty indeed allows us to enter the head of this bruised woman who has not managed to wipe out the towel and recover herself since Patrick put a end to their relationship. And seeing him happy with Ellen will certainly not help him get better. In fact, it will only increase her need to remind Patrick that she still exists and that, wherever he goes and whatever he does, she will never be far away…  

An unrealistic story? “After writing this book, I heard from many people who had experienced this kind of thing,” adds Liane Moriarty. Even 12 years later, she wouldn't change a thing. Not a single word. “Some readers would have liked the book to be darker and more suspenseful,” she says. In fact, the novels I wrote later have a darker approach. So I might have been tempted to give this one a rougher edge, but no, because some people still claim that Amours et autres obsessions is their favorite book! »