Lullaby by Leila Slimani, Sam Taylor (Translator)

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Allen & Unwin 3. Mental health. Free for commercial use. No attribution required via Pixabay

I liked this book.

Whodunnit? The nanny.
(That’s not a spoiler. We know that from the beginning.)
But, why?

Myriam and Paul engage the services of Louise as nanny to their two young children, while they continue their busy careers. The story is told in flashback after the children and nanny have been discovered by Myriam in the Paris apartment when she comes home from work.

“Around the children – who all look alike, often wearing the same clothes bought in the same shops, with their names written on the labels by their mothers to avoid any confusion – buzzes this swarm of women. There are young women in black veils, who have to be even gentler, cleaner, and more punctual than the others. There are the ones who change wigs every week. The Filipinos who beg the children, in English, not to jump in the puddles.

“He doesn’t know why, but the sight of Louise makes him shiver. Something in her disgusts him: that enigmatic smile, that excessive makeup; that way she has of looking down on him, her mouth tight-lipped. Not once has she ever responded to one of his smiles.”

Quotes from the book.
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Lullaby can be crude, employing prose that is exaggerated and reductively cliched, but it is also a provocative, empathic work and passionately imagined.”
  • The Independent: “…  a psychological thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats. And yes, it’s a chilling, horror-filled read, for sure.”

Also published as “The Perfect Nanny” by Penguin Random House

Awards: 2016 Winner Prix Goncourt (official website in French)

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