The Perfect Nanny

The Perfect Nanny : A Novel

3.54 (13,015 ratings by Goodreads)
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"You won't move until you reach the last page." --People

"Talk about a guilty pleasure." --The Washington Post

"Deliciously twisty . . . A hair-raising tale of domestic horror." --Entertainment Weekly #1 National Bestseller She has the keys to their apartment. She knows everything. She has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her.

When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, motherhood, and madness--and the American debut of an immensely talented writer. The #1 international bestseller and winner of France's most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 15mm | 136g
  • English
  • Translation
  • 0143132172
  • 9780143132172
  • 2,228

Review quote

"This is a great novel. . . . Incredibly engaging and disturbing . . . You read the entire novel knowing something terrible is coming. In that, Slimani has us in her thrall." --Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger "A year ago, I picked up a book . . . that I've thought about pretty much every day since. . . . [It] felt less like an entertainment, or even a work of art, than like a compulsion. I found it extraordinary. . . . If you are a mother, whatever kind of mother you aspire to be, you'll know what kind of mother you are after reading Slimani. If you are not a mother, the insights that she administers can be no less jolting. . . . Like Jenny Offill, Slimani can write ravishingly of female bodies, even postpartum ones. . . . The novelist Rachel Cusk has chronicled what motherhood did to her; Slimani examines what mothering is doing to society." --Lauren Collins, The New Yorker "I think this might be one of the most important books of the year. You can't unread it. . . . If you've ever taken care of a kid, even if, just on a bus, someone has handed you a child for five seconds as they rummage through their purse, this will do something to you. . . . At the end of reading this book, I was so devastated, but I really felt like I was looking at the world through new eyes." --Barrie Hardymon, NPR's Weekend Edition "[A] slim dagger of a novel . . . You won't move until you reach the last page." --People "Deliciously twisty . . . Slimani's exploration of race and class is razor-sharp and brilliantly provides the fuel for a hair-raising tale of domestic horror." --Entertainment Weekly, "The Ten Best New Thrillers to Read This Spring" "The first 'hot' novel of 2018 . . . Unflinching . . . assured . . . The book aspires toward the taut elegance of that classic nanny nightmare tale, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, and, in language and complexity, it comes pretty darn close. . . . Talk about a guilty pleasure." --The Washington Post "Exquisite . . . In Slimani's hands, the unthinkable becomes art. The Perfect Nanny won France's most prestigious literary award. . . . One can see why the judges were wowed." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air "So twisted and creepy, but absolutely captivating." --Lauren Christensen, The New York Times Book Review (podcast) "It's excruciating, and almost more than anything that I could imagine--and therefore I read on." --Pamela Paul, The New York Times Book Review (podcast) "Brilliantly observed . . . Slimani is brilliantly insightful about the peculiar station nannies assume within the households of working families." --The Wall Street Journal "Dazzling . . . A portrait etched in shards of glass . . . Slimani is an astute observer of power politics in the home. . . . The hints of France's greatest short-story writer emerge in the first pages. . . . We begin The Perfect Nanny in horror, and then miraculously, swiftly, Slimani creates a person out of that powerful spectacle. In this fashion the novel functions like an extended Maupassant story turned inside out." --John Freeman, The Boston Globe "A taut page-turner about what can happen when no one pays attention to what matters most . . . Illuminates the treatment of domestic workers, the petty ugliness that can be endemic to marriage, and the primal fears that accompany having children." --O, The Oprah Magazine "I devoured the entire thing in a day or two. I read it . . . horrified and anxious, yet unable to put it down. It's a gripping read . . .: a little window into a person's brain as they unravel into the unthinkable." --Lori Keong, New York "If you love dark, propulsive thrillers, you'll be hooked. . . . Like a good horror film, it offered a safe environment in which to explore all my latent fears. . . . A painfully lurid, one-eye-open kind of pleasure." --Leah McLaren, MSN "[An] unnerving cautionary tale . . . Pretty radical for a domestic thriller, but what's more remarkable about this unconventional novel is the author's intimate analysis of the special relationship between a mother and a nanny. . . . Slimani writes devastatingly perceptive character studies." --Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review "Chilling . . . A slim page-turner, The Perfect Nanny can be read in a single, shivery sitting. . . . It will make a great film." --The Economist "Slimani ratchets up the tension here through close quarters, resentment and complicity. The book . . . is chilling and an important look at the unseen challenges faced by service workers." --The Washington Post, "A Guide to the Best New Thrillers" "Grabs us by the throat . . . The story's tension builds relentlessly. . . . Fans of psychological thrillers will find it a perfect start to their 2018 reading list." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune "A deft portrait of bourgeois family life in the 21st century . . . Readers aren't likely to converge on a single interpretation of why Louise has done what she's done. Ultimately, she holds sway as a symbol rather than as a psychological reality, a choice that makes this deftly told tale all the more eerie." --The Atlantic "Like Gone Girl, the novel deserves praise for pulling off a tricky plot with nuance. . . . Slimani's focus on race and class certainly elevates the book's crime-drama stakes into something more complicated." --The New Republic "More artfully composed than many of the books in its genre." --The New York Times "A classic, even Dostoevskian, tale of one person's descent into madness." --The Millions "[A] stunner of an opening . . . Slimani's characters are well drawn, and she laces her narrative with acute observations, and seems intent to let no one off the hook for the terrible act at the heart of the story. . . . [It] feels scarily real. . . . Her matter-of-fact tone adds a layer of creepiness. . . . Slimani gives us much to think about. . . . She comes across as an artist doomed to find the dark side in everything. . . . But that doom may be her great gift." --WBUR "This brutal chiller has the same compulsive readability as Emma Donoghue's Room." --The Guardian "If you started the year strong but can't find another book that pulls you away from Netflix, believe this hype: The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani, will get you back on track." --Apartment Therapy "A masterpiece: a brilliant exploration of the collision of race, gender, and class wrapped up in a gripping psychological thriller. I absolutely loved it--and read it in one sitting." --Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political Tribes "A potent, chilling dive into class and the mommy wars." --Janice Y. K. Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Piano Teacher and The Expatriates "A taut and exquisitely written novel that will keep you up all night desperately turning the pages. This book is insanely good." --Kate Hamer, bestselling author of The Girl in the Red Coat "Terrifying and haunting . . . You won't read a smarter, more chilling book this year." --Mel McGrath, author of Give Me the Child "A deeply disturbing, compulsive read that manages to make the monstrous pitiable, the inhuman humane." --Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Cartographer's Daughter and The Girl of Ink and Stars "Is The Perfect Nanny the next Gone Girl? This author's book on a killer nanny is next year's must-read. . . . As far as first pages go, this one slams you in the guts. . . . Anyone reading [it] can tell within a few paragraphs that its author is a mother . . . who has felt firsthand the perfect split of agony, ecstasy and mind-numbing boredom that motherhood entails." --The Telegraph "The novel, which draws on elements from the real story of a nanny from the Dominican Republic who has been accused of killing two children under her care in New York in 2012, pieces together disparate events that culminate in a nightmarish outcome." --The New York Times

"This novel--a runaway hit in France--is coming to the United States this month, and it's sure to take this country by storm, too." --Bustle "The Perfect Nanny comes across the Atlantic on a sea of deserved praise. . . . Slimani is skilled not only at building suspense, but at observing the minute details of middle-class domestic life." --Lit Hub, "5 Crime Must-Reads" "The Perfect Nanny is like a gelid hand slowly closing itself around your heart--but never giving it the dreaded squeeze." --San Antonio Express-News "Just as America became engulfed in Gone Girl and Girl on the Train last year, France became obsessed with The Perfect Nanny. . . . As taboo and shocking as the subject matter is, the underlying theme of women exploring their desires is what stands out. . . . A must-read." --Hello Giggles "A devastating, entrancing, literary psychological drama supported by absorbing character studies . . . Readers won't be able to look away." --Booklist "Expertly probes [a mother's] guilt at leaving her children with a stranger . . . Those seeking a thought-provoking character study will appreciate this gripping anatomy of a crime." --Publishers Weekly "A darkly propulsive nail-biter overlain with a vivid and piercing study of class tensions." --Library Journal, "Top Ten Titles for Winter Reading" "The why of this horrific crime remains unfathomable, rendering it all the more frightening." --Kirkus Reviews "Tightly written . . . Slimani . . . cleverly drills down into the parent-nanny dynamic, one so often loaded with judgment and guilt, particularly for women." --Marie Claire (U.K.) "A riveting exploration of power, jealousy and resentment." --The Bookseller, Editor's Choice "Intense, but gripping. Beautifully lyrical and addictive." --Elle (U.K.)
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About Leila Slimani

Leila Slimani is the first Moroccan (and pregnant) woman to win France's most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt, which she won for The Perfect Nanny. A journalist and frequent commentator on women's and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron's personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.
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Rating details

13,015 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 17% (2,177)
4 38% (4,912)
3 32% (4,152)
2 11% (1,371)
1 3% (403)
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