Alexandra Burt is the bestselling author of Remember Mia and The Good Daughter. Below, she shares what she loved about Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, which has been getting lots of buzz from places like NPR, Bustle, and The Guardian.
If you are looking for Gone Girl or commercial domestic noir, this is not it. The Perfect Nanny is unlike anything you’ve ever read. It is the tale of middle-aged Louise, a Parisian woman who watches over a couple’s two young children and immerses herself into their lives. As the story goes, Louise is only perfect on the surface and in the end snaps—there is no spoiler alert, no give-away, “The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds,” so the novel begins. Slimani is relentless and descriptive and she doesn’t mince words, none of this is for the faint of heart. The story is about how we ended up with one dead child and one barely clinging to life when Louise was perfectly perfect from the moment she came into the couple’s lives. Reviews are all over the place, the ending is controversial but what you need to know about this book is the following; it is more a piece of art than a story, it is literary suspense in sharp and perfect prose. The third person narrator remains aloof, readers are mere spectators of what can happen when people lose touch with reality. This isn’t a Lifetime movie, but an indie film with subtitles, vivid in style, a tale you won’t be able to put down until the very end.
— Alexandra Burt