Lullaby by Leila Slimani


Lullaby by Leila Slimani

The baby is dead.” It is this genius opening line of the book that first grips you (by the throat) and doesn’t let go until you turn the final page. 

Lullaby is the story of Myriam and Paul, a young couple with two small children and their nanny Louise. When Myriam decides to return to work, a choice accepted only reluctantly by Paul, the couple hire Louise, prim and proper, with her Peter Pan collar and her hair tied back in a clean knot, to look after their children. “My Nanny is a miracle-worker," Myriam proclaims to her friends, as they file in for Louise’s perfect meals in the small but, thanks to Louise, perfectly tidy apartment. Louise adores the children who adore her right back and Myriam and Paul can’t believe their luck and return to the lives they had dreamt of for themselves.

Things are, of course, never quite as they seem and as Louise slowly weaves herself into the fabric of the family, author Leila Slimani takes the reader back into the dark story and history of this woman who while she is in control of everything in Myriam and Paul’s life has lost control of everything in her own life. Her enhanced position in the household juxtaposed with the life she lead in the shadows of French society and the dark streets of Paris.

Lullaby is a beautifully written, atmospheric thriller, but it is also a strong and deftly crafted critique of society; of those who rise up and those who spend their lives in an unstoppable freefall towards the bottom.

The ending is on the first page, but the journey back to that beginning is at turns exciting, sad, thought provoking and frightening.

Lullaby is a book that requires a few breaks, but can so easily be read in just one sitting, breathlessly, anxiously on the edge of your seat.

Do it. You won’t regret it!

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Hannah Gough