40+ Best Nine Perfect Strangers Quotes by Liane Moriarty

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We have compiled a list of quotes from Nine Perfect Strangers by 

Liane Moriarty for you to read.


Chapter one

“‘I’m fine,’ said the woman. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. ’‘I did not fall off my chair!’ snapped Masha. ‘She kind of slid off it,’ amended the girl. “

“I’m happy to pay your full, you know, cost or rate, or however it is you charge for your services. I have private health cover, of course. I just really don’t have time for this right now. “

“Is this what happened earlier. No. No, before she just sort of fainted. Does she have a history of seizures. I don’t think so. I don’t know. Start compressions. “

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Chapter two

“It occurred to Frances that she was possibly quite close to losing her mind. No, she wasn’t. She was fine. Perfectly sane. Really and truly. “

“It seemed that in a mere ten days she would be ‘transformed’ in ways she ‘never thought possible’. It had made her feel stupidly competitive and she clicked Book now, even though she didn’t really believe there was only one place remaining. “

“Gary always did suffer terribly from colds. “

“When you catch an adjective, kill it. When everything was good in Frances’s life she wished both her ex-husbands nothing but happiness and excellent erectile function. “

“She wasn’t even meant to be here, in this season or hemisphere. She was meant to be with her ‘special friend’ Paul Drabble in Santa Barbara, the Californian winter sun warm upon their faces as they visited wineries, restaurants and museums. “

“‘Menopause. ’ her eighty-year-old mother had said vaguely, on the phone from the other side of the world, where she now lived blissfully in the south of France. ‘Oh, I don’t think it gave me too much trouble, darling. “

“Temporarily Tragic. Left turn ahead, said her GPS. Yes, I know, I see it. Goddamn it, she said, and turned left. “

Chapter three

“This one is my wife’s favourite. The vineyard manager, a chunky, cheery guy in his sixties with a retro moustache, held up a bottle of white wine. She says it makes her think of silk sheets. “

“I’m going to get a case, said Lars. He watched the wife pat her husband’s back as she moved past him. “

Chapter four

“Frances drove twenty minutes down a bumpy dirt road that jolted the car so hard her bones rattled and her lower back screamed. -Frances drove twenty minutes down a bumpy dirt road that jolted the car so hard her bones rattled and her lower back screamed. “

“I’m trying to check in and I’m stuck outside the gate. It’s, ah, twenty past three, twenty-five past three, and I’m. . “

“Frances,’ she’d said, ‘this is such a fan girl moment for me! I used to read your books when I was, like, eleven! I stole them from my mum’s handbag. “

“‘It was the best decision I ever made,’ she’d told the audience at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference when she gave the keynote address last year. “

Chapter five

“One of the Peugeot’s brake lights was gone and the muffler looked like it was bent, no doubt from that dirt road. “

“He had to tell himself, Don’t hit her. “

“If not for the robbery, if not for the fuckwits, they wouldn’t be at this place. It’s just good manners,’ she told him. ‘You don’t take your fight to a party. “

“Have you phoned them. ’ he said now to the cleavage lady. I wonder if this is like a test,’ said Jessica. ‘Maybe it’s part of our treatment plan. ’ She lifted her hair up to cool her neck. “

Chapter six

“That’s more like it, thought Frances when she got her first look at the Victorian mansion emerging majestically in the distance. The road was sealed now, thankfully, and the bushland became progressively greener and softer. “

“I’m Yao, your personal wellness consultant. I’m Frances Welty. Your new victim. We’ll take care of everything from here. Leave your bag right there, Frances, and your keys in the ignition. “

“No-one goes home early,’ said Yao serenely. ‘It just doesn’t happen. No-one wants to go home at all! You’re about to embark on a truly transformative experience, Frances. “

“‘There will be a five-minute warning bell before meals are served – or smoothies, during the fast periods. We do ask that you come promptly to the dining room as soon as you hear the warning bell. “

“At one point, when the property operated a vineyard, this cellar could hold up to twenty thousand bottles of wine. But when the house was originally built, it was used for storage, or as somewhere to secure misbehaving convict workers, or even to hide from bushrangers. “

“I did read that on the website, but I wasn’t sure if it could be true!’ said Frances disingenuously, because if it wasn’t true she would be making a complaint to the Department of Fair Trading quick-smart. “

“‘I’d really like to get to my room now,’ she said. ‘It was a long drive. ’‘Absolutely. I’m going to book you into the spa for an urgent massage for that back pain,’ said Yao. “

“Napoleon! he cried. Napoleon!Frances, she said in the nick of time. Nice to meet you! he said. Here for the ten-day retreat, I assume. I am, Frances said. I most certainly am. “

“As he talked on in the comforting way of the chronically loquacious, Frances watched his wife and daughter further down the stairs. Napoleon said, ‘It wasn’t you who arrived in that Lamborghini was it, Frances. I saw it from our room. “

“‘I’ve actually been feeling very unwell lately, Yao,’ she said pitifully. ‘I know you have. ’ Yao put both his hands on her shoulders and it didn’t feel silly or sexual; it felt healing. “

“You’ve got to be kidding, she said out loud. It wasn’t there. They wouldn’t, would they. It was unconscionable. Illegal, surely. “

“She would say nothing and they would say nothing and on the last day they would hand it all back to her with a knowing smirk as she checked out, like returning a prisoner’s personal effects. “

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Chapter seven

“I’m sure they haven’t stolen it, she said. She meant to sound funny and light-hearted but she couldn’t seem to get the tone of her voice to come out right these days. A hardness kept creeping in. Yeah, but where have they parked it. said Ben. “

“But was that one of the problems in their marriage. That she didn’t even bother to try to communicate how she felt about things that were important to her. “

“It was just an ordinary robbery, except that it ended up changing their lives forever. The insurance company paid out without much fuss, but Ben and Jessica had to pay a five-hundred-dollar excess, which they resented because they hadn’t asked to be robbed. “

“The silence begins when the bell rings three times. The silence should be hard for us then. “

chapter eight

“When did the pain start. Frances lay naked on a massage table, a soft white towel draped over her back. Everything off and then under this towel, the massage therapist had barked when Frances arrived at the spa. “

“He was tall for his age. He loved basketball and wanted to play it professionally. “

“The shame she experienced was extraordinary. She had revealed so much of herself to this scammer. How he must have sniggered, even as he somehow responded with sensitivity, humour and perfect spelling. He was a mirage, a narcissistic reflection of herself, saying exactly what she so obviously wanted to hear. “

“‘I honestly thought I was more in love with this man than any other man I’d met in the real world. I was quite deluded. But then again, love is just a trick of the mind, isn’t it. “

“‘I would never really do that. ’‘It’s funny, because I’m a romance writer. I create fictional characters for a living, and then I fell for one. ’‘I think someone went through my bags, Jan. “

Chapter nine

“Nu naher! She did not have time for the past right now. She had a health resort to run! People were depending on her. This was the first time she’d begun a retreat with a period of silence, but she knew already that it was right. “

“Nine perfect strangers who would soon become like family. “

“I nearly always loathed my body. Women and their bodies! The most abusive and toxic of relationships. “

“Their photo showed an attractive young couple sitting on a yacht. They were smiling with their teeth but Masha couldn’t see their eyes because of their dark sunglasses. They had ticked the box for couples counselling and Masha was confident she could help. “

Chapter ten

“The religious sound of the bells froze her on the spot. “

“Afterwards, the three of them had cooled off in the pool; the relief of the cold blue chlorinated water had been magical after the hot springs. Heather watched Zoe try to race her dad: he swam butterfly, she swam freestyle with a five-second head start. “

“The rage hit her with the power and momentum of a contraction during active labour. There was no escaping it. She saw herself punching his face with a closed fist, crunching his cheekbone, the diamond cluster of her engagement ring breaking his skin, over and over and over and over, blood dripping. “

“Jesus. This was unexpectedly hard. “

“Zoe was fine. Of course she was fine. She was a good girl. She would do what she said she would do. She always did. She tried so hard to be everything for them while they tried so hard to pretend that she wasn’t their only reason for living. “

Chapter eleven

“Why was she even thinking about sangria, for heaven’s sake. She hadn’t drunk sangria in years. It was like her brain kept tossing out random suggestions for every type of food or drink she was going to be denied for the next ten days. “

“It was nice to see someone here who truly needed a health resort. “

“He sat slumped, poking his finger into a hole near the hem of his t-shirt. “

“I understand that some of you may find this period of silence particularly challenging. I understand, too, that the silence was unexpected. Some of you may be experiencing feelings of frustration and anger right now. “

“In ten days, you will not be the person you are now. You will leave Tranquillum House feeling happier, healthier, lighter, freer. “

“Ten years ago, I died. There may be doubters among you. You may be thinking, Did she really die. Let me tell you, Yao was one of the paramedics who took care of me that day. There is another reality that sits alongside the physical reality. “

“I just need a little. . air,’ said Zoe. ‘Mum, no, I’m fine,’ said Zoe. ‘Please, just let me. ’ She indicated the door. “

Chapter twelve

“She felt bad about breaking the noble silence, especially after her dad’s sneezing had created havoc in the room. “

“Zoe went over to the window which looked straight out onto the rose garden, a rectangle of lush green grass bordered by high hedges, with garden beds of abundant white roses. This was where they would do tai chi at dawn tomorrow morning. “

“It’s all got very awkward, said Frances. She sat down on one of the lavender couches. Oh dear, this is one of those swallow-you-up couches. She shoved two cushions behind her back. Ow. My back. “

“Zoe’s mother would not like any aspect of this conversation. Zoe was taken aback, worried that she might have made some kind of sexist faux pas. Zoe was worried that she might have made some kind of sexist faux pas. “

“Reader, I married him, and then I’d just sob. It had remarkable staying power. Reader, I married – ooohhh!Reader, I married him, and then I’d just sob. “

“I think it probably just means the silence is starting again. Yes, you’re right. Okay, we’ll go back together. I’ll go first; I’m older, I’m not scared of her. “

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Chapter thirteen

“I am very happy to give you a full refund. You are free to leave at any time, Tony. “

“She looked at him for a moment, long enough to help him see the sadness of this deep attachment to his earthly possessions. He shifted uncomfortably. ‘They are parked undercover, Ben. Please don’t worry, they are perfectly safe. “

Chapter fourteen

“A lot for one day. Stimulating and distracting. “

“The sound of strangers chewing and clinking and scraping their cutlery just about did Frances’s head in. “

“No-one leaves early, Frances, Yao had said today. Well, Frances could be the first. Set a new precedent. Ellen would have told her if there was walking across hot coals. Ellen was a dear friend. “

Chapter fifteen

“‘What the actual fuck. ’Lars sat up, his heart hammering. A figure stood at the end of his bed shining a small torch in his face like a nurse doing hospital rounds. He switched on his bedside lamp. “

“It was a clear night, the stars were out in force and a perfect half-moon illuminated the garden with silvery light. Lars saw there was only one empty mat. “

“Out of nowhere the mind comes forth. And the second: Show me your original face, the one you had before your parents were born. Do not struggle to find answers or solutions, said Masha. “

“God no,’ he’d said to Ray and his sister. ‘Just. . no. ’ He’d felt terrified and suffocated by the thought of all the earnest love he’d have to endure if they had a baby. “

Chapter sixteen

“On reflection, Jessica decided not to bother her. It was the middle of the night. People her age really needed their sleep. “

“It was two years ago now. A Monday evening. Jessica had come home from work in a hurry because she was going to try to make the 6. 30 pm spin class. “

“It was like a better version of their wedding day. “

“It was bewildering to Jessica that she and Ben fought more about money now that they had an abundance of it. “

Chapter seventeen

“It was going to be another hot summer’s day, but the temperature at this hour was perfect, the air silky soft on her skin. “

“Slow is certainly. . slow. but also it was quite. lovely. “

“Heather had somehow veered off the trail and onto a large rock that overhung the steep side of the hill. The ground fell away directly in front of her. Another step and she would have gone over. “

Chapter eighteen

“Breathe in like you’re breathing through a straw. Jesus wept, what a load of absolute horseshit. He was humiliated to realise that his legs ached from the excruciatingly slow walking meditation they’d done this morning. “

“His sons didn’t remember his birthday – not that he expected them to remember it; he barely remembered it himself, and he only remembered theirs because Mimi texted him a reminder on the morning of her brothers’ birthdays. “

“He would drop some weight. He would get himself together. He would make an action plan. On the drive from the airport he’d felt almost optimistic. (pg. “

“Amateur human being. Shutting down. Being emotionally distant. Not giving a shit. Numbly signing the papers. “

Chapter nineteen

“For heaven’s sake, thought Frances. The serial killer. “

“‘I’ve never had a bleeding nose before,’ she told him. ‘I don’t know what brought it on, although I guess I have had a bad cold. “

About Nine Perfect Strangers

“Tony, the smiley-face-tattoo-butted serial killer. “

Chapter twenty

“There was an attachment to the email. She heard herself make a noise, a silly, pathetic little squeak, like the sound of someone standing on a child’s toy. “

“Get a grip. “

Chapter twenty-one

“I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy, breathe, I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy, breathe. I wonder what they’re doing now. “

“It happens. It happens a lot. It’s essential that the discarded wife remains dignified. She must not wail and weep, except in the shower, when the kids are at school and preschool, and she’s alone in the suburbs with all the other weeping, wailing wives. “

“There’s not a damned thing wrong with your body. “

“In ten days, you will not be the person you are now. You’re beautiful and Joel is a shallow idiot and you should give ZERO FUCKS what he thinks. “

Chapter twenty-two

“Frances wrote me a note,’ said Yao. ‘She asked if she could please skip the blood test as she’d had a nosebleed. I told her that was all the more reason to do the test. ’Masha grunted. “

“He did care very deeply for Masha. Was that so strange. To love your boss. Surely not so strange when you lived and worked together, and when your boss looked like Masha. She was interesting and stimulating. He found her exotic accent as attractive as her body. “

“It felt physical. He thought it was a bleed on the brain. He felt it implode. “

“It’s going to be more than fine, Yao, she said. It’s going to be beautiful. “

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Chapter twenty-three

“The noble silence, which seemed so flimsy and silly in the beginning, so arbitrary and easily breakable, somehow gained in strength and substance as the days passed, like the settling in of a heatwave, and in fact the summer heat had intensified. “

“There had been other pleasant surprises too. For example, yesterday afternoon, as she had passed Zoe on the stairs, the girl brushed against her and pressed something into the palm of her hand. Masha could ‘counsel’ Frances if it made her happy. “

“Her demeanour would normally have made Frances bristle, and she wasn’t yet quite so Zen that she didn’t note the fact that she had the right to bristle. “

“Frances thought about this. The book was meant to be another murder mystery but the author had introduced far too many characters too early, and so far everyone was still alive and kicking. The pace had slowed. Come on now. Hurry up and kill someone. “

“‘I am not in a relationship and I do not have children,’ said Masha. She had become very still. She looked very steadily at Frances – so steadily that Frances couldn’t help but wonder if she was lying, although it was impossible to imagine Masha in a relationship. “

“It was not easy to leave. “

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. “

Chapter twenty-four

“I know the meals here are all calorie-controlled. I guess the challenge will be maintaining my weight loss when I go home. I’d be really grateful for any nutrition advice you can give me going forward. Maybe a recipe plan. “

Chapter twenty-five

“I Googled ‘How to change your life’,’ said Tony. I just want to get healthier and fitter,’ said Tony. ‘Drop some weight. ’I used to be very fit. I should have done this sooner. “

“It was hard to believe Frances was exactly the same age as Masha. She reminded Masha of a little girl in her second-grade class. A plump, pretty, vain little girl who always had a pocket filled with Vzletnaya candies. “

“Don’t let your heart be a casualty of your head. People are frightened of what they don’t understand, said Masha. I never believed in life after death before that. Now I do. “

Chapter twenty-six

“It was interesting: when you have children you think your life has changed forever, and it’s true, to an extent, but it’s nothing compared to how your life changes after you lose a child. “

“He loved the sound of the whipbird: that long, musical crack of the whip that was so much a part of the Australian landscape you had to leave the country to realise how much you missed it, how it settled your soul. “

“He could have done a trade!He could have done law or medicine or architecture. He could have travelled. He could have done drugs. “

“That’s what he told the newly grieving parents at the Tuesday night group. He told them there was research to suggest that teenage suicide was often the consequence of an impulsive decision. Many had suicidal thoughts for only eight hours before their attempts. “

Chapter twenty-eight

“I was so sorry to hear about Zach,’ she said. She even said his name without lowering her voice. “

Chapter twenty-nine

“Within a few moments, everyone was there. “

“‘I’d like us to now slowly reintroduce conversation and eye contact,’ said Masha. “

“I love everything about this place,’ said Carmel. ‘Everything. ’ She looked at Masha with a degree of intensity that was unsettling. “

“I’m so sorry for your loss, Napoleon, said Masha and she reached out her hand as if she wanted to touch Napoleon, but he was too far away. So very sorry. “

“I knew you were Smiley Hogburn! said Lars again. He seemed to be looking for some sort of recognition that he wasn’t getting. ‘I’m not normally good with faces but I worked out who you were straight away. “

“‘Weren’t you the one with the smiley face tattoos on your butt. ’ said Lars. ‘I’ve seen them!’ cried Frances before she could help herself. ‘Have you now. ’ said Lars suggestively. “

“He got up really early that morning. Zoe ignored her mother. She fiddled with one of the many earrings in her earlobe. Her empty smoothie glass lay on its side against her thigh. He hardly ever got up early. “

Chapter thirty

“In a manner of speaking,’ said Masha calmly. “

Chapter thirty-one

“It’s called micro-dosing and it’s perfectly safe,’ said their esteemed leader, who, as always, sat cross-legged and straight-backed, her incredible long white legs so entwined that sometimes Lars got distracted trying to work out where each leg started and ended. “

“‘I guess LSD has no calories,’ said Carmel. It was easy to remember her name because Lars had a friend called Carmel who was also boringly convinced she was fat. Carmel’s glasses sat crookedly on her face but she didn’t seem aware of it. “

“‘I cannot believe this. ’ Ben got to his feet. ‘LSD has actually been used very successfully to treat drug addiction,’ said Masha. ‘Your sister could benefit from it. In the right setting. “

“‘Yes, but, Masha. . ’ said Heather. She sounded calmer than before. She splayed her fingers on both hands as if she were waiting for a fresh manicure to dry. “

“‘I think we’re all strapped into the spaceship now. ’ Lars nudged Tony’s big beefy shoulder with his own. ‘All you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. I find your smile very charming, by the way. “

“I think your marriage has potential. “

“Delilah leaned in close to Lars, her breath warm and sweet. ‘I’m going to leave you for a moment, but I’ll be back to check in on you and to talk about whatever is on your mind. “

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Chapter thirty-two

“Masha tried to convince her dad to lie down. Her mum was shouting: ‘Illegal. . Unconscionable!. Appalling!’ (pg. “

Chapter thirty-three

“‘What’s interesting is that I’m a fictional character,’ said her internet scammer from the back of the sleigh, where he sat between Henry and Sol, his arms around their shoulders. ‘Yet she loved me more than either of you. “

“‘You actually did say that when you were alive,’ said Frances. ‘More than once, as a matter of fact. ’‘You’re always acting like you’re the heroine of one of your own novels. “

Chapter thirty-four

“I’m in a story, Yao, said Frances. I’m writing the story and I’m in the story. It’s quite a nice story. I’ve got a kind of magic realism vibe going, which is new for me. “

Chapter thirty-five

“The football represented everything he hated about himself: all his mistakes, his regrets and his shame. “

Chapter thirty-six

“It was Masha’s body. Her sleek blonde hair. Her trim waist. “

Chapter thirty-eight

“Napoleon sat with his back against a wall of the studio, watching the floor breathe in and out with the rapid, heartbreaking vulnerability of a sleeping baby. “

Chapter thirty-nine

“Goodness, that looks like fun. I think I’ll go say hello. Stay with me, Frances. “

Chapter forty

“Heather focused on her breathing. She was determined to keep a tiny part of her brain safe and sober and in charge of monitoring the effects of the psilocybin and LSD; one brightly lit office window in a dark office tower. “

Chapter forty-one

“I knew he was upset about something. “

“I thought something was going on at school, she told her parents. But I was angry with him. We weren’t talking. I didn’t want to be the first one to talk. “

Chapter forty-three

“I miss your face,’ Ben said to Jessica. ‘Your beautiful face. I don’t recognise you. I don’t recognise us or anything about our lives. I miss our old flat. I miss my job. I miss the friends we lost because of this. “

“But we still love it, said Jessica. We love the dog. We do, but I think we should give the dog away, said Ben. I think it’s not the right dog for us. “

Chapter forty-four

“I feel so much better after my time at Tranquillum House!I especially enjoyed ‘tripping’ with my husband and daughter. I know better than anyone that the unbearable can be borne. The loss of a beautiful, silly, smart, impetuous boy. “

Chapter forty-five

“It was pleasing to hear someone so good-looking with such a loud, unpleasant snore. “

“Need water. Napoleon crouched down with difficulty on his long legs in front of Frances and offered her a bottle of water. I’m assuming it’s not spiked with drugs, he said. “

Chapter forty-six

“I’m sure this is all just part of the process, said Carmel. She didn’t know why everyone looked so worried. They’re not going to leave us down here for much longer. It’s all fine. “

“It’s like we’re trapped in a dungeon, said Frances, which Carmel thought was melodramatic, but then the woman wrote romantic fiction for a living so you had to allow for an overactive imagination. Eventually, they’d sat back down, dispirited and dishevelled. “

“‘It doesn’t matter where we are today,’ said Napoleon. ‘It does,’ Heather cried quietly into his shirt. Suddenly she seemed diminished, all the rage gone, just a tiny, sad, traumatised mother. “

Chapter forty-seven

“They seemed to be enjoying themselves destroying her bracelet and discussing exactly what was needed: ‘teeth to push the pins out’ or some such thing. Zoe lifted her head and smiled. Her eyes were clear. She looked lovely. Not like someone who had spent the previous night tripping. “

“I used to always be so relieved when we made up. I loved it. “

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Chapter forty-eight

“Maybe you’re still high, said Frances. Zoe laughed. Maybe she was. I don’t think so. “

“It means a lot to me that you liked my book, said Frances, turning to face her, eyes shiny. It was sweet. It seemed like Zoe’s opinion really mattered to her. Well done, kid, said Zach. Thou droning, dog-hearted dewberry. “

Chapter forty-nine

“They didn’t have the right tools and the locking mechanism was newly installed. They didn’t have the right tools. Finally, Ben gave up. “

“I know that. He put his hand over hers and wondered if maybe the couples counselling had worked. Although, if so, why didn’t he feel more elated. Maybe it was the crash after the high. That’s what got people addicted. “

“It’s hard to pick the jerks, said Zoe. He was never boring. We disagreed on basically everything there is to disagree on. What was your sister like. Before the drugs. Or beneath the drugs. “

Chapter fifty

“Nobody came. The hours passed as slowly as if they were passengers stuck on a plane not moving from the tarmac. (Frances)Quote: Everyone kept returning to the keypad and trying out random combinations of numbers over and over. “

“‘We’re prepared to pay a fee to get out of here, Masha!’ She jammed her fists into her waist. ‘Money is no issue for us. We’ve got no shortage of cash. Honestly, we’re happy to pay for. . “

Chapter fifty-one

“I would never have allowed a pregnant woman to take those substances,’ said Yao. ‘Never. ’So why does she keep saying she is. ’ asked Masha. It’s not that she’s pregnant,’ said Yao. “

“Sometimes Masha had a bizarre innocence to her. Did she really think the kissing between those two meant something. It wasn’t just the drug, said Masha. I led them to many important breakthroughs. “

“I think we should let them out, said Yao. They were meant to be out by now. “

“The car drove like a dream. “

Chapter fifty-two

“How far along are you. asked Heather from her position in the corner of the room. She sat up and rubbed her knuckles so hard into the sockets of her eyes that Jessica winced. You needed to be careful with the delicate skin around your eyes. “

“I wanted a baby,’ said Jessica. Of course it’s to do with you,’ said Jessica. ‘I only wanted your baby. ’You’re the father. You can see it whenever you want. “

“‘Yep, so great: folate, a little LSD and some ecstasy,’ said Ben bitterly. ‘The perfect start to life. ’‘Don’t worry about it, she’s probably not even pregnant,’ said Carmel in a low voice. “

Chapter fifty-three

“‘I’m mildly claustrophobic. It’s not that big a deal. I didn’t like being down here even before we were locked in. ’‘Well. They say that a sports star dies twice. The first time is when they retire. “

“‘I had one friend who said to me, Don’t you hate the way that everyone only wants to talk about who you used to be. but I honestly never minded that. I liked it when people recognised me; I never mind talking about the man I used to be. “

Chapter fifty-four

“He understood that his phobia about mistakes had begun when he was a child. “

“He understood at last that he had internalised his mother’s terror at her mistake, not his. “

“As the time had passed, both Yao and Delilah had begun to say, ‘I think we should let them out. Or give them a clue. ’But Masha was convinced that they would work it out. “

Chapter fifty-five

“Frances and Tony sat next to each other in companionable silence. Most people were sitting now, except for Napoleon, who paced constantly. No-one was attempting to decode the security lock of the cellar door. (pg. “

“It’s very impressive leaping, said Frances. She remembered how she’d made the mistake of scoffing when Henry had started talking about how he wanted to learn to hang-glide at the age of fifty. All her friends had shaken their heads. “

“It’s really lovely, said Frances. Oh my God, could we leave the poetry and the football and maybe just focus on getting out of here. “

Chapter fifty-six

“‘What are they doing. ’ asked Masha. ‘I think Tony is going to try to launch off their backs like he’s in a game of football,’ said Yao worriedly. ‘That’s crazy,’ said Masha. “

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Chapter fifty-seven

“I think I just dislocated my shoulder. I need to move it. It’s going to pop back in when I move it. “

Chapter fifty-eight

“It felt like it would be easy. Wake up, lady writer. I dreamed I was playing again. “

Chapter fifty-nine

“A koan demonstrates the inadequacy of their logical thinking!The solution is no solution. The self is an illusion. The self does not exist. They must surrender. They must open that door themselves. “

“They had never seen an empty grocery store with nothing but boxes of Indian tea. They did not need attributes like ingenuity or resourcefulness. “

Chapter sixty

“Time slowed. And slowed. Slowed. To a point. That was so slow it was unsustainable. Whatever it was, the clarity was an illusion, because she was having difficulty differentiating what had and hadn’t happened since she’d got here. “

“‘I vote for lights off,’ said Frances in a low voice. Napoleon had showed them where the microphones were installed in the corners of the room. “

“I still loved him. I know I did, because some days I’d think, Oh, what a relief, I still love him, it would be so inconvenient if I didn’t love him. “

Chapter sixty-one

“It was his angriest teacher voice; the one that got even the worst-behaved boy in a class to sit down and shut up. They had agreed the lights would stay on. The darkness was so complete Napoleon instantly lost all sense of up and down. “

“She liked to think of herself as the efficient, no-nonsense one in their relationship. The one who got things done. “

“He could have, he would have, he should have, he might have saved him. “

“Girls had excellent control of their feelings. They spun them around like batons: Now I’m crying! Now I’m laughing! Who knows what I’ll do next! Not you! A boy’s emotions were like baseball bats that blindsided him. “

Chapter sixty-two

“She’s mad. She’s crazy. She’s nuts. She’s unhinged. What Frances really meant was that Masha was odd, alternative, intense, excessively tall and exotic and different in every way from Frances. “

“‘I think I speak for all of us when I say this has been an incredible experience,’ she began. ‘Is that Yao behind you. ’ He was on his feet, his eyes on the screen. ‘Is he alright. “

“‘I need you all to listen carefully,’ said Masha, ignoring Frances’s question about Delilah. She moved to the front of the camera again so that Yao’s body was concealed. “

“‘Is the game called Last Parachute now. ’ said Lars, his face hard with bitter mockery. ‘So we’re all going to sit around and discuss ethical dilemmas like first-year philosophy students while Yao lies there comatose on your desk. “

Chapter sixty-three

“I’m sure Yao is fine, don’t you think. And Delilah. There is no way Masha would really hurt anyone, said Frances. I agree, said Napoleon. ‘We have to play along and take the first opportunity we can to find a way out of here. “

“I make good money. I just make sure a certain type of man pays a fair price for his sins. I’m not doing it for love, said Lars. “

“None of this makes sense. “

Chapter sixty-four

“I reckon you’ve done a good job of it, said Zoe. That’s one thing I miss about our old life, admitted Jessica. Before we got rich we didn’t ever have to think about whether we were ‘good’ people, because we didn’t have time to be good. “

“‘Thank you,’ said Jessica gratefully, because sometimes she had longed for someone to give her a good mark for how well she’d handled the prize money. She’d tried so hard to be a well-behaved lottery winner. “

Chapter sixty-five

“But once Yao slept, she felt oddly alone. She missed him. She missed Delilah too. Without Yao or Delilah here there was no-one to mentor, no-one observing her actions, no-one to whom she needed to explain herself. “

“Masha had enjoyed the thought of her previous colleagues seeing her reincarnation. They would probably not recognise her at first, and then they would respond with awe and envy. Masha had anticipated year-long waiting lists after the news of their success got out. “

“She knew exactly how many calories she was about to consume and how much exercise she was going to need to do to burn them off. “

“She held herself stiffly because she could not stand to be laughed at, and here there was always the possibility that she might misunderstand or be misunderstood. “

“He became quiet again. She finished what she was doing. It took less than five minutes. Maybe four. He’d strangled himself playing with a long white cord from the window blind. It was not an uncommon accident, she later learned. “

“She was momentarily confused before she remembered she had earlier taken seventy-five milligrams of LSD to improve her decision-making and mental clarity. This was simply a hallucination. She needed to relax and allow her brain to find all the right connections. (pg. “

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Chapter sixty-six

“‘So, Napoleon, I’ve got you,’ said Ben, walking next to the older man as he strode up and down the length of the cellar. ‘I mean, I’m defending you. ’‘You can say that if you like. “

“For a moment he looked profoundly sad. “

Chapter sixty-seven

“‘I’m quite a good friend,’ said Frances to Heather. ‘You could mention that. ’ She chewed a fingernail. ‘I remember birthdays. ’‘I’m hopeless at birthdays,’ said Heather. “

“Masha was smoking. “

“I am big picture!I am flexible! I am big picture!On the Myers-Briggs personality test I am the Commander!I think you will not be surprised to hear that. “

“What do we do. She saw the confusion and fear on his face and that made her panic grow, because if Napoleon had no answers, they were in trouble. I’m sorry, said Tony humbly. Obviously, PowerPoint would have helped support my argument. Yes. “

“It’s just the drugs, said Lars. That’s not the problem, said Ben. We will all do push-ups now, said Masha. Push-ups are the perfect functional integrated resistance exercise. “

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Chapter sixty-eight

“No-one saves us but ourselvesPossessions mean nothing!You must detach from your beliefs and assumptions!I can smell smoke. “

“He wanted to take her out for a drink. “

Chapter seventy

“What have you done. Hello, Yao. “

Chapter seventy-one

“Frances’s fear peaked and then plateaued. Her heart rate slowed. A great tiredness swept over her. She had always wondered how she would feel if her life was in mortal danger. What would she do if her plane began to plummet towards earth. “

Chapter seventy-two

“Did you sleep well. asked Masha. She took a drag of her cigarette. I did. The smoothie was delicious and I have been experiencing many remarkable insights. You sedated me, said Yao. He ran his tongue around his dry mouth. “

Chapter seventy-three

“We had to play a game called Death Row, Carmel said. It was a horrible game. . And then she never even let us complete the activity, complained Jessica. Yes, I was quite looking forward to my turn, said Frances. “

“I know some of last night’s activities might have seemed. . unusual,’ said Yao. He was a little hoarse but you had to admire him. He was continuing to play his violin as the Titanic sank beneath the sea. “

Chapter seventy-four

“She saw Masha lunge for Heather. She felt the unexpected heaviness of the candelabrum in her hand. “

“So you thought you were locked up. We were locked up. But then you just opened the door and left. Well, you see, we’d stopped trying the handle, said Frances. “

“Today is my twenty-first birthday,’ announced Zoe. It’s also Zach’s birthday. ’ She took a deep shaky breath. ‘It’s our birthday today. “

“Those first few months were hard, but then, I don’t know, I think we got them into a routine when they were about six months old, and I remember, after I finally got a good night’s sleep, I woke up looked at them and thought, Well, you two are pretty special. “

“I must be transformed, said Frances. Normally I’d say yes. Me too, said Tony. “

Chapter seventy-five

“If she’d been pregnant, they would have stayed together. There was enough love left to stay together for a baby. But she wasn’t pregnant, and there wasn’t enough love left to try again, or for anything else, except an inevitable, amicable divorce. “

“I’ve been doing push-ups, said Frances, facedown on her living room floor, the phone to her ear. Push-ups work every muscle in your body. “

“‘I’ve been thinking about the baby idea. ’‘Maybe we could give it a shot,’ Lars said. ‘Maybe. ’ He felt sick. “

“I’ve just been doing push-ups, he said. I can do ten in a row now, said Frances. Show-off, said Frances. “

“He told her about Zach. He told her about the drugs he was given at Tranquillum House and how, ever since then, he’d been struggling with what he believed to be depression. “

“I should have checked, she said quietly. And I shouldn’t have pressed snooze on this fucking piece-of-shit phone!And our daughter should have told us there was something wrong with her brother. “

Chapter seventy-six

“Oh yes, you were a biter, his mother told him on the phone. She gets it from you. Never do that again, she said. “

“Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don’t notice it at all, until one day you wake up and think: How did I get here. “

“Masha, said a man on the other side of the same city, a spanner in his hands. “

“He remembered the day their second son was born, only three months after they lost their firstborn so tragically. “

Chapter seventy-seven

“But they forgave her. “

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