Talk

Advanced search

August Book of the Month: Lullaby by Leïla Slimani - Read and join the discussion and author webchat on Tues 11 September, 9pm

(70 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Aug-18 17:12:40

Our second Summer book club read provides a thrilling contrast to our July book (Why Mummy Swears).

Lullaby is a dark exploration of the relationship between a middle-class Parisian couple and their nanny, wrapped up in a gripping psychological thriller. The book, by French-Moroccan journalist Leïla Slimani, has had everyone talking - and received acclaim in the form of prestigious French literary prize the Prix Goncourt. The English version has been translated from the French by Sam Taylor.

Find out more about the book, read - or listen to - an extract and see what the Mumsnet bloggers have to say about Lullaby. Leïla Slimani will be joining us to answer questions about the book on Tuesday 11 September between 9 and 10 pm,

If you're interested in joining us, do grab yourself a copy or download the audiobook and join in the discussion below.

LaDaronne Fri 03-Aug-18 16:12:51

Can you give a nod to the translator, I think it’s Sam Taylor? The English version didnt write itself, you know !

CommunistLegoBloc Fri 03-Aug-18 18:21:10

I’d be interested to know if the author had any contact with the parents in the real-life case this book was based on, or if she had their approval?

Either way, how did that impact the writing of the novel?

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Aug-18 11:56:39

Hi @LaDaronne - thanks for your note. You are completely right, apologies for missing it out originally. We have amended the post and the page.

Hope you enjoy reading Lullaby!

MNHQ

LaDaronne Wed 08-Aug-18 12:39:27

Thanks Sorcha! I'll be reading it in French, as my name suggests ;-)

Maplessglobe Fri 10-Aug-18 13:07:20

Thanks. Leïla, I came to this book after hearing you on the High Low podcast. I loved it. It was very dark and one of the most disturbing books I’ve read. Does it take it out of you, emotionally, to write something like this? How long did it take you to write? How did you find the writing process?
Thank you

IndicaMom Sat 11-Aug-18 21:57:59

Brilliant pick !! Am reading it currently and would join the discussion with the author on 9/11

stilllovingmysleep Wed 15-Aug-18 08:07:29

Just finished reading this book. I found it a very quick read, really carried you along. Bravo to the author.

littlerose12345 Sun 26-Aug-18 22:45:18

Looking forward to chatting about this one!!

Amaksy Wed 05-Sep-18 12:04:11

Yikes! This is my bookclub book for the month and wow wow is all I can say! Gripped from the first page

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 07-Sep-18 15:50:07

Eek. Just bought the audiobook. Hopefully I can finish it before Tuesday smile

OzymandiasFanClub Fri 07-Sep-18 23:15:20

Excellent book. Very absorbing. Felt so tense while reading it, even though you know whodunnit, right from the beginning. It's a whydunnit....

Some people complain that the ending is too open but I think the book explains everything perfectly.

anonymousbird Sat 08-Sep-18 15:42:33

I started this today, and am already at the sneaking-an-extra-few-pages-when-I-can stage.

The tension in the first short Louise chapter left me breathing very shallow and my heart racing. For this to have been written in French and then translated and to still have this effect is testament to both author and translator.

So my question is, Leila, how much liaison is there between you and the translator? Do you work together in any way?

Can't wait to read on.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Mon 10-Sep-18 07:21:01

Read this in a day

Left me wanting more , ie

What happened after
What happened to Louise’s Daughter

Also raised some hard questions for me as a working Mum

Very good and tight little read

MamaCBear Mon 10-Sep-18 09:40:42

Really enjoyed this book and the gradual build of tension. I thought the subtle creepiness of Louise' s character played out really well to the point that the scene where Myriam finds the chicken bones was really disturbing. I kept thinking throughout about the film The Hand That Rocks The Cradle but was pleased there was no surprise twist as it leaves you with that unsettled feeling. Was it always your intention to keep the ending open or did you try alternative endings to attempt to resolve things?

littlerose12345 Mon 10-Sep-18 10:28:52

Loved the book. My question is
At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

miketv Mon 10-Sep-18 23:53:31

Wow - that was a harrowing read! And terrifying as a working parent.

Did you have children when you wrote it? Do you use childcare??

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 08:57:36

Hello everyone! Thank you for all the questions so far. I am very happy to do this webchat with you, live from Paris!

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 08:59:02

miketv

Wow - that was a harrowing read! And terrifying as a working parent.

Did you have children when you wrote it? Do you use childcare??

Hi @miketv, yes I did have a boy when I was writing this story. Actually, I had the idea of the book just after hiring a nanny to take care of him. She is still working with me today and taking care of my little daughter.

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 09:01:57

littlerose12345

Loved the book. My question is
At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Hi @littlerose12345, to be really honest, I don"t know when I wanted to be a writer. When I was a child, and then a teenager, I spent all my time reading. I admired writers so much. I wanted to have their life, a life full of passion, adventures and surprises. But I was not conscious of how hard it is to stay in your room for hours, days, monts to write a book. I was a journalist for many years and when I had my son, at 30, I decided to quit my job and try to write a novel.

miketv Tue 11-Sep-18 09:02:24

That's good to hear! What does your nanny think to the book?

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 09:05:11

anonymousbird

I started this today, and am already at the sneaking-an-extra-few-pages-when-I-can stage.

The tension in the first short Louise chapter left me breathing very shallow and my heart racing. For this to have been written in French and then translated and to still have this effect is testament to both author and translator.

So my question is, Leila, how much liaison is there between you and the translator? Do you work together in any way?

Can't wait to read on.

Hello @anonymousbird, that is an excellent question! I think that we don't value enough the work of translators! That is thanks to Sam Taylor that you can read my work. Of course, Sam and I worked together. He wrote me emails, asking me about this word or this sentence. He is an extraordinary translator because I think that he really understood the atmosphere of my novel.

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 09:10:18

Maplessglobe

Thanks. Leïla, I came to this book after hearing you on the High Low podcast. I loved it. It was very dark and one of the most disturbing books I’ve read. Does it take it out of you, emotionally, to write something like this? How long did it take you to write? How did you find the writing process?
Thank you

Thank you @maplessglobe. When I write, I try to keep some distance with my subject. It is very difficult sometimes but it is necessary because I need to keep some control. That is probably why I wrote the first page in one breath, without overthinking. It was very difficult because, in a way, I had the feeling that I was killing the children myself. It took me approximatively one year to wite the book. I spent a lot of time wandering in the parcs and the streets of Paris, observing the nannies around me.

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 09:14:01

miketv

That's good to hear! What does your nanny think to the book?

Hi @miketv, actually she said that I was crazy! And then she heard about the real case in New York and she was horrified of course. Many nannies in my neighborhood told me that even if my book was very hard, they had the feeling that I described some situations that they had actually lived.

LeilaSlimani Tue 11-Sep-18 09:16:43

CommunistLegoBloc

I’d be interested to know if the author had any contact with the parents in the real-life case this book was based on, or if she had their approval?

Either way, how did that impact the writing of the novel?

Hi @communistlegobloc, my book is not about this real case that happened in New York. It unlocked my inspiration and gave me the idea of the murder. But I never wanted to write about a true story or to investigate this particular case. I read a lot about "real nannies murder" in France, UK or US. And I decided to call her Louise because of Louise Woodward. So no, I never had any contact with the real family.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: