Leïla Slimani

Catherine Hélie © Éditions Gallimard

Leïla Slimani (1981) is a Moroccan-born French author and journalist who has won recognition for her work with difficult subjects. Her novel Adele: A Novel (Dans le jardin de l’ogre, 2014) covers a relevant issue that is also a central motif of Michel Houellebecq’s works – sexual addiction and the problems that accompany it. Her novel Lullaby (Chanson douce, 2016) became the most read novel in France and won the Prix Goncourt. It deals with the class and national divisions that lie beneath the surface of French society. The plot is simple: a man and a woman are looking for a perfect nanny for their children and finally find an extremely committed person, who then goes on to grab more and more power in their home. The beginning of the book is like a punch – the
reader finds out about the murder of two children. Lullaby is, above all, remarkable for its psychology, Slimani’s skill in looking at how the need for intimacy becomes a power struggle and the thirst for comfort transforms into denial or hysteria. Lullaby is, therefore, a story about obsessions and the inability to separate them from reality. The book is all the more powerful thanks to its style, which has the precision of a surgeon and the instincts of a masseur. Leïla Slimani will talk to writer and translator Indrek Koff.

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