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Books Editorial

lullaby.jpg Lullaby
 

Leila Slimani, Faber & Faber

This French novel has already won the Prix Goncourt Prize (awarded to the author of the best and most imaginative prose work of the year) and has now been translated into English by Sam Taylor. It begins with a gruesome crime scene: the aftermath of the murder of two children. The perpetrator is identified as Louise, their nanny, making this less of a whodunit than a whydunit. The narrative then flashes back to tell how a bourgeois French couple – she’s a lawyer, he’s a music producer - struggle with their work/life balance but then think all of their problems are solved when they find Louise. She’s not only a big hit with the children, but goes above and beyond her requested duties by cleaning the apartment, cooking meals and even accompanying the family on holiday. Despite being marketed as something of a psychological thriller (there’s a silly reference to Gone Girl on the back), the novel actually derives its power from a chilly formalism and Slimani’s powerful examination of class and entitlement.