Lullaby by Leila Slimani

March book choice for the Northern Group. This dark book tells the tale of a young Parisienne family and their conflict between caring for their children and building their careers. He is a music producer and she a lawyer. They struggle between grateful appreciation that the children are clean, tidy, less aggressive and out of their immediate concerns in conflicting schedules, her ability to make their lives smooth and trouble free and a niggling and growing nervousness of their dependence on her, an unvoiced concern about her personality and power over them.

The opening chapter leaves the reader in no doubt at all as to the denouement of these concerns because it literally starts at the end before unravelling the steps towards that event. A close examination of ambition, maternal and paternal instincts and the expectations thereof, contrasting with a well woven plot describing familial desires, conflicts and losses.

Not a book to read in the dark on your own perhaps, and certainly one to avoid if you are looking for a happy-ever-after feel-good sort of a story. If you like detailed examination of character interactions and emotions, then this is one for you.

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