About the book:
The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds.
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.
The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered…
My Review: I downloaded this book because my sister needed a recommendation for her holiday and only reads 1 book a year so I try to vet all her books for her as it’s important that the ONE book she reads is a cracker. I started it whilst on a client visit in London as I had 10 minutes spare and all I can say from the opening chapter is OMG. I was instantly and completely and utterly hooked.
Having read the blurb above you will know that this is a horrific tale involving the violent and bloody murder of 2 young children and the involvement of the nanny. It’s harsh, blunt and very graphic in places and a very uncomfortable read throughout. The opening chapter starts with the killing of the children and then the story takes us back through the narration of the Nanny, Louise and the mother, Myriam.
In places it’s heartbreaking and the underlying tone is dread and despair and I’d be lying if I said it’s an enjoyable read as the subject matter is so awful. However, the writing style, the quick and fast paced narration was compelling. I particularly enjoyed the pace and felt there was no padding or unnecessary narration – it appeared almost simple and to the point throughout,which I found addictive and captivating.
The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is that it ended too soon (the book is only 224 pages) and I felt that having invested in these characters I could have easily read more.
About the Author: Leïla Slimani is a French writer and journalist of Moroccan ancestry. In 2016 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel Chanson douce.
Slimani was born in Rabat, Morocco and studied later political science and media studies in Paris. After that she temporarily considered a career as an actress and began to work as a journalist for the magazine Jeune Afrique. In 2014 she published her first novel Dans le jardin de l’ogre, which two years later was followed by the psychological thriller Chanson douce. The latter quickly turned into a bestseller with over 450,000 copies printed within a year even before the book was awarded the Prix Goncourt