by Leila Slimani

A mother is returning home after her working day, full of anticipation at seeing her young children. She has no idea of the carnage awaiting her. Both her baby son and daughter are dead, and the nanny, the perpetrator, is unconscious.

What has led to such a horrific, terrible tragedy?

The story starts again. We meet the young Parisian couple, Miryam and Paul, as they decide to engage Louise to look after their children.

They aren't finding family life easy, juggling care for the children as their careers are beginning to take off. They employ a nanny and can't believe their good fortune to find someone as perfect as Louise. The children become well mannered, the house is tidy and there are delicious meals on the table. They embrace Louise as a new member of the family. Except she's not a member of the family.

And Louise has had a troubled life. She is isolated, overlooked, and lost. As she comes to realise that her new-found happiness will come to an end as the children grow more independent, she cannot face her future.

This is a gripping read. The descriptions of family life are beautifully and delicately drawn. The characters are distant but intriguing. The dilemmas are understated but very real. It is compelling, and a very enjoyable read.

The ending I felt didn't match the traumatic opening, nor the perfectly paced body of the story, but it left the reader pondering the fragility and banality of life. What sparks that breaking point?

An excellent book. One I highly recommend, and I will be looking to this author again.


Review date: January 2018
Lullaby by Leila Slimani