The Perfect Nanny
Mon, 03/19/2018 - 6:59pm by Lucy S
In her exciting yet frightful new novel, The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani reveals a ghastly crime in the very first sentences, challenging us to come along for the ride. The big question here is not what happens between a nanny, Louise, and her two charges, but why? Slimani parcels out clues to Louise’s motives in small bits, twisting her story back and forth through time. Alternating chapters, narrated by Myriam, the mother, take us into the mind of a woman struggling with the part of motherhood that asks her to relinquish her identity. This is not a new problem, a working mother beset with guilt, missing her children, but really enjoying her work, where she feels she is her best self.
Louise experiences extreme loneliness in the house of Myriam and her husband, Paul, never knowing when she will be brought into the family fold. Paul and Myriam include Louise when it is convenient for them to think of it, confusing and blurring the boundaries of their working relationship.
The psychological complexity adds to the shock and horror that unravels on these pages. Though it provides no easy answers, no tidy lesson, The Perfect Nanny is a thrilling and thought-provoking read.