I’d waited for this book since it started getting such rave reviews in France. Then it won the Prix Goncourt (huge prize there) Then it got to the US but the Audible version was a bit late getting out of the gate. But I finally got it, read it and promptly forgot to blog it. (LOL!) – I read it within days of it coming out this month though. (Note – it did not make the Booker International List – probably, imo, because the literary value is not all that great and the translation is a case of simply “nicely done.”
The Perfect Nanny
by Leila Slimani
2017 -(2018 US) / 238 pages
read by Finty Williams – 5h 45m
Rating: A / crime –
It’s a very good book, but I wasn’t wow’d. Maybe it just wasn’t up to the hype and if I had not had such high expectations it would have been more impressive. I don’t know why. That’s happened before and even when I go into a book knowing I’ve let myself get hyped and try to lower my expectations, it sometimes happens anyway. (But other times I’m wow’d; it’s just hard telling.)
The book opens in the aftermath of a brutal double murder and suicide in a small but pricy New York apartment. The victims were two young children and their nanny. We know the nanny did it, so the question the remaining narrative explores is why – what drove the nanny to commit such a horrendous act?
In answering to that, Slimoni relates the lives of the parents, the children, and, of course, the nanny, Louise, a petite, blonde, middle-aged woman whose own daughter has grown up.
Yup – everyone has problems but the tension is expertly built as we get closer and closer to what we already know. It’s good. It’s quite good. It’ s just not quite brilliant and not even terribly original for contemporary American readers of crime/suspense fiction.