Perfect Nanny
by Slimani, Leila

A U.S. release of an award-winning best-seller from Morocco follows the relationship between a working French-Moroccan couple and their too-good-to-be-true nanny, whose devotion to their children spirals into a psychologically charged cycle of jealousies, resentments and violence. Original.

Leila Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt, which she won for The Perfect Nanny. Her first novel, Adèle, won the La Mamounia Prize for the best book by a Moroccan author written in French. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, Slimani is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.

Winner of France's prestigious Prix Goncourt, Moroccan French author Slimani's first book to be published in the U.S is a devastating, entrancing, literary psychological drama supported by absorbing character studies. Readers first step into a veritable crime scene: a baby and his toddler sister are dead, or soon to be, in an apartment in Paris' tenth arrondissement. Their blissfully unaware mother, Myriam, meanwhile leaves work early, for a change, to surprise them. Then Slimani takes us back to the true beginning, to learn how happy Myriam was to escape the monotony of stay-at-home parenting after the birth of her second child and how impressed she and her husband, Paul, were by the nanny, Louise, who arrives highly recommended and whom the children immediately adore. Slimani's skills are many, and her novel is fabulously translated by Taylor. Myriam and Paul's constant nagging fears for their children are mundane, relatable, and gut-wrenching, given the end readers already know. As Louise's dark past, emotional stuntedness, and heinous volatility emerge through cracks in her meticulous, porcelain exterior, readers won't be able to look away. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

This novel about a murderous nanny, Moroccan author Slimani's first to be published in the U.S., was awarded the 2016 Priz Goncourt.Inspired by a 2012 case involving an Upper West Side nanny accused of killing two children in her charge, Slimani's novel moves the story to a similarly upscale locale, the tenth arrondissement of Paris. Since the book opens with the murders, leaving no doubt as to the culprit, the reader quickly gathers that the inquiry here is not who did it but why. A narrative that is chiefly flashback attempts to reverse-engineer an explanation. Louise, a middle-aged widow with an estranged adult daughter, is hired by a professional couple to look after their young children, Mila and Adam. The father, Paul, is a rising music producer, and the mother, Myriam, an attorney who's just taken a demanding position at a law firm. Myriam and Paul are pleasantly surprised by Louise's spectacular suitability for her job: not only does she quickly win over the children with her creative games and sense of play, but she goes above and beyond a nanny's role, becoming a housekeeper and general factotum. Never has the apartment looked so clean, never have meals been so appetizing and nourishing. Her employers take Louise along on their summer vacation to Greece, where she begins to see possibilities beyond her constricted life. However, the idyll is threatened on all sides when the pathology underlying Louise's perfectionism begins to emerge. The near-omniscient point of view darts in and out of the consciousness of many characters, some quite marginal. Consequently, the depiction of internal pressures building to a homicidal pitch is fragmentary at best. Ultimately, the evidence against Louise, whether of compulsive behavior, mental illness, bad luck, or just extreme loneliness, does not add up to a motive for infanticide. The prose, despite Taylor's often slapdash translation, manages to convey an atmosphere of creeping dread reminiscent of M odiano, but with more lurid details. The why of this horrific crime remains unfathomable, rendering it all the more frightening. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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