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Lullaby

Written by: Leïla Slimani
Narrated by: Finty Williams
Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds.

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris' upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.

The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul's idyllic tableau is shattered.... 

©2018 Leïla Slimani (P)2018 Faber & Faber Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Dark Nanny

A story about a nanny and her attachment to the kids. If you like dark stories with a twist, yes this is suggested.

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  • Armand Jarri
  • 02-01-19

psychological portrait

Really well written portrait of a psychological breakdown of an ordinary woman that ends with a murder.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amelia
  • 27-07-18

So many inaccuracies

This book has achieved high acclaim in France.
This work begins after the murder of the children then delves back into the lives of the nanny and the parents to see what led to the events.
This does not read as a translation so all praise to Sam Taylor for a wonderful job in this respect. Moreover the narrative by Finty Williams was superb.
This is seriously far from a thriller It is a well written social commentary of day to day events in the life of a family.
The first half of the book shows how Myriam and Paul are happy to use and abuse their nanny. While telling themselves they are being kind to her they patronise and demean her. Myriam and Paul’s characters are not developed and they move in and out of the story without the reader having much insight into them. This is the same for other characters in the book. I felt this was written by someone far removed from the story I never felt Louise was alive in the story.
It is difficult to see why the parents did not see some of Louise’s behaviours as concerning but then they are focused on their own lives their work and Louise keeps the home and children ordered so they accept it. An example of this is bite marks Myriam discovers on her young son which is explained away by Louise the nanny and the mother just accepts it.
Overall I just felt extremely frustrated by this book as follows.
The ending was just flat with no satisfaction at all.
There are elements of this book which could not happen in real life despite its basis on a similar real life case in the USA in 2012.
When the supposed killer is in a coma the state will arrest her but then procedures stop until and unless the accused recovers. No investigation witness interrogation, Judge, trial can occur as the person accused of murder is not there present to defend herself. Yet all this is presented to the reader as what happened in this case.
Secondly are there no data protection laws in France? How is it possible for authorities to write to the employer of the nanny disclosing her financial irregularities without her consent? Then when given that information Myriam who is a solicitor did not tell Louise that she does not have to legally accept her husband’s debt which is the reason for her debt in the first place?
Overall this was a well written and well translated distant look at day to day family life without any thriller gripping elements with glaring inconsistencies in legal practices of any government
Personally it just left me confused and perplexed. I could not recommend it and will return it to Audible.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Candypop
  • Zürich
  • 24-06-19

Quite good

Given this book had a fair amount of hype I was a bit disappointed by the reality. It’s quite good but certain not so special.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mclpa
  • 07-03-19

A very Dark story

I’d been recommended this book by a friend who has a wonderful eye for a good read. Unfortunately I didn’t get on so well with this one. Mostly because I found it incredibly depressing. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why. It was very well written and well narrated I just always felt incredibly sad after listening to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs julie-ann logan
  • 12-01-19

Intellectual psychological story

Great listen. Well written and empathetically narrated book. It portrays a put upon nanny who is trusted to be in charge of two innocent children. So cleverly written in that you are always aware of the awful act that has been committed but but there is a compelling sense to listen on and understand why.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • T A GIBB
  • 03-01-19

Chilling book

This book was recommended by another mum it was enthralling but scary at the same time . It could of been real
Very good book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Fitzy
  • London
  • 08-11-18

Beautifully written

Beautifully written. I was a bit disappointed with the end but it didn’t ruin the book for me.

Good narration too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sararara
  • 30-07-18

Grubby and ugly

I’d been eagerly anticipating this audiobook, given French and US reviews, but I really really didn’t like it.
It’s not a plot spoiler to say that from the outset you know it’s going to be a dark tale, but it’s unrelentingly grim, depressing and dull.
The translation is perfectly fluent and the narration is well pitched but everything is described in cold, clinical prose. And not a single character is likeable or sympathetic.
I can’t work out what it’s trying to be: it’s not a thriller, as nothing happens and it’s quite repetitive. Maybe it’s a rather skewed social commentary but there was no profound insight.
It’s just an ugly book with no redeeming features that has left me feeling grubby.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lu
  • 08-08-19

Good listen

Really enjoyed the story and how it was read, but felt something was missing from the ending... not sure what though. But perhaps I am supposed to have unanswered questions!

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  • bookylady
  • 22-07-19

A Perfect Nanny or a Perfect Monster?

I’m not surprised that this novel has won major book prizes. It is an interesting and chilling story, expertly narrated and translated in a seamless way, so much so that it is possible to believe that the original text was written in English.

This is the story of a young Parisian couple, Paul and Myriam, their two young children and their seemingly perfect nanny, Louise. When Myriam returns to work as a lawyer, the couple cannot believe their luck when the nanny they hire through an agency transforms their lives and their chic Grand Boulevard apartment, making it easy for them to leave their children for long hours in her care. Louise makes herself indispensable to them, cooking for dinner parties, babysitting, being totally available to them. Nothing is too much trouble for Louise and the children adore her.

Gradually the couple begin to notice small things that bother them about Louise. Is she too good to be true, are they imagining things or should they be dismissing their ‘perfect’ nanny? As time goes on they conclude that they can no longer ignore their worries and suspicions but fate intervenes in the most terrible way.

This is a well written novel and I liked the structure of it. The characters of Paul and Myriam could have been better developed, I thought, and the plot was weakened by this lack. It was very difficult to understand how or why they ignored so many troubling signs about Louise and some of the author’s devices surrounding Louise’s behaviour were implausible. For instance, Louise relied many times on small children being complicit in lies and subterfuge, repeating stories they had been taught or hiding important information from their parents. In my experience it is nigh on impossible to ask a small child to keep a secret so these devices seemed a little ridiculous.

The ending was very sudden and disappointing and it spoiled a novel which I had been positive about until that point. There was no real closure either. The reader is left to draw their own conclusions, which I found very unsatisfying.

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  • Kerry Clayton
  • 14-09-18

I hope there is a follow up to this book!

Thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book! Highly recommend it. I have questions but not in a frustrating way .... many ways the next chapters could pan out and enjoying going over the facts as they stand so far.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 31-05-19

So many holes and inconsistencies.

A very disappointing ending. Where's the rest? Too many things in this book were inconsistent or unexplained. I feel I've been duped. I do resent investing hours of my time only to be short-changed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful