Book review: Lullaby by Leila Slimani

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. 

READ MORE: Classic children’s books you didn’t realise are racist

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.

READ MORE: Local book boxes are taking reading to the next level - win one plus a subscription to Mills & Boon's book club

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

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 688 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 284 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1570 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 562 votes