Book review: Lullaby by Leila Slimani

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Credit: Supplied
Credit: Supplied

Lullaby by Leila Slimani (translated and published in 2018 by Faber & Faber)

Very few people know the inner workings, the dynamics and tensions of a family as well as a nanny does. She is both part of the family, and also not at all.

Myriam and Paul are busy Parisians, a couple with two young children in desperate need of some help at home. 

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Enter Louise. She is a nanny like no other. She seems eerily perfect and has an effortless way with children. After a while the couple starts to wonder how they ever survived without her. 

But from the cover, and from the very first page we know this story will end in tragedy. It is about murder and what drives one to change so drastically, from saint to sinner. 

The story is dotted with flashbacks of Louise’s unsettling past and unbalanced present. She has an almost obsessive desire for recognition; and as she moves from family to family to care for younger children as the older ones cease to need her, she eventually starts to unravel. 

Slimani’s thriller has taken the world by storm. 

Her writing is so clean, yet it speaks to so many themes such as deprivation, motherhood, race, class and power relations; also exploring the immigrant care system so many Parisians have come to rely on.

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It is a read that will surprise you as every page brings another subtle, yet impactful twist, turn and/or disturbance.

Purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za.

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