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Lullaby Paperback – Import, 11 Jan 2018
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'Terrifying and haunting, Lullaby is every parent's worst nightmare. You won't read a smarter, more chilling book this year. It's wonderful.' (Mel McGrath, author of Give Me The Child)
'Consistently spellbinding: a supremely confident and provocative novel that deserves similar success to Gillian Flynn's bestseller.' (Alex Peake-Tomkinson TLS)
A masterpiece: a brilliant exploration of the collision of race, gender, and class wrapped up in a gripping psychological thriller. I absolutely loved it - and read it in one sitting. (Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)
A nanny wields such emotional power, despite a sometimes appalling lack of rights or status or future. ..It's an explosive cocktail, and Leïla Slimani's deft, often agonising novel shakes it up with a precision that takes your breath away.
The acid, throwaway beauty of so many of Slimani's descriptions and phrases [means] that you are taken deep into a fragile, damaged yet somehow rationally irrational psyche. I closed this book feeling very shaken but also with a sense that I'd just had an experience that almost no other art form could have given me. Long live the novel.
'A taut and exquisitely written novel that will keep you up all night desperately turning the pages. This book is insanely good.' (Kate Hamer)
'Through sparse, striking prose, Slimani shucks her character's skins and shows us their messy inner workings. LULLABY is a deeply disturbing, compulsive read that manages to make the monstrous pitiable, the inhuman humane.' (Kiran Millwood Hargrave, bestselling author of The Girl of Ink and Stars)
'Slimani's agonisingly addictive novel, translated from French, is set in bourgeois Paris where the helping hand that rocks the cradle masks an insidious psychosis feeding on a working mother's guilt and the silence of her dependent infants.' (Laura Bailey VOGUE)
'Anyone who has ever had to hire someone to look after their children in their own home knows that it is unlike any other working arrangement...Leïla Slimani's brilliantly executed insight is that there is great emotional jeopardy for everyone involved.
It would have been easy, and narratively effective, for Slimani to build a picture of a psychopath; it's clear, in the kind of mythic language she uses and from the occasional slightly overdone gothic touch, that she was tempted. She achieves the far more interesting feat, however, of playing entirely valid points of view against each other, sometimes in consecutive sentences: one minute we are seeing things from Louise's point of view; in the next her face is blank and we are outside again, with the parents. Rather like childhood, Slimani's novel arrives at its inevitable climax through an accretion of seeming banalities and mundane pressures.This is a political book about emotional work, about women and children and their costs and losses. But, partly because Slimani looks so clearly at these losses, not only giving them their due, but placing them carefully for full narrative impact, Lullaby also works as a thriller, which is quite a balancing act to pull off.'(Aida Edemariam Guardian)
'There's always something slightly uncomfortable about books that rip their plots from the headlines, a sense that we are thoughtlessly delving into someone else's private anguish. Thankfully Leïla Slimani's Prix Goncourt-winning Lullaby, which takes its inspiration from a real-life case in New York in 2012, manages to rise above these unpromising beginnings to tell a taut tale of poverty and privilege, motherhood and work, marital tensions and unequal relationships, all underpinned by the terrible question: what could lead someone to murder two children?
Slimani has a keen eye for the small ways in which nannies are slighted and ignored and is smart too about the way in which we celebrate the notion of the perfect mother while condemning those, such as Myriam, who refuse to sublimate themselves in their children's desires.
Ultimately Lullaby's haunting power comes from the fact that Slimani emphasises with her adult characters while refusing to let any of them off the hook: they are all in some way complicit in Mila and Adam's terrible deaths. As an examination of what happens when privilege, power and poverty intersect so personally it is hard to beat.'(Sarah Hughes i Newspaper)
'Slimani has identified a vital subject: the challenge all working parents face in handing the care of their small children to strangers.' (David Sexton Evening Standard)
The number-one bestseller and winner of the Prix Goncourt - a compulsive, riveting and bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity and motherhood.See all Product description
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A masterful depiction of a woman's psychological breakdown from the perfect caretaker and nanny to an absolute horror who is capable of committing the most heinous crime. Imagine trusting your children with someone and then finding out that the worst has happened to them. The novel explores the main characters brilliantly - you are never in a comfort zone about any of them - each capable of kindness and cruelty in equal measures. The greys are so beautifully explored. You read on with horrified fascination about the young mother who is too tired to do anything and the hassled father being rescued by the perfect nanny. The family rejoices in their good fortune - the mother resumes her career and the father is free and can pursue his career without guilt, the children are happy and well taken care of. There are hot and elaborate meals waiting for them. Their tiny apartment is kept perfectly. Things seem perfect till they gradually start to unravel - strand by terrifying strand.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My one criticism of the book is that I felt it left the parents' story unfinished... I was dissatisfied that the parents were depicted as being so off-hand with the children, even when their lives achieved balance with the "perfect nanny." It was obvious that the nanny was extremely possessive of the children and most parents are extremely sensitive to this - even detached unloving parents don't want another adult coming first with the child. In a way, I thought this was intended to put some of the blame on the parents - if they had been more present, less concerned with work and more focused on their children, the tragedy would not have taken place. But the depiction of the parents was off-key and didn't make sense.
However, the character description of the nanny is flawless. If you liked the structure of this book (starting with the crime and delving into a character study) I would highly recommend A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell/ Barbara Vine.
To begin with I thought the writing was naieve, then thought no it was a more modern way to write. Before I realised it I was hooked and couldn't put the book down.
The deep understanding of the Nanny ran through the story but the mother chose not to address it and ignore the moral implications. The mother had blurred lines of a relationship with a lady who slowly dominated their lives.
Loved the book. So sad.