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Book Review

Book Reviews

4/4/2018

By Nathacha Appanah
Graywolf Press
April 3, 2018
176 pages

‘Waiting for Tomorrow’

Nathacha Appanah’s “Waiting for Tomorrow” is a slim novel that packs a powerful punch. It tells the story of Anita and Adam. They met at school in Paris where they both felt like outsiders. Anita is from the island of Mauritius, and Adam is from the French countryside. They get married and move to the Southwest of France and have a daughter, Laura. They both forgo their artistic desires in order to make a living. Adam gives up the dream of being a painter for a job as an architect, and Anita channels her dream of being a writer into a job at a newspaper. Adele, an undocumented immigrant from Mauritius, is hired to look after Laura. Adele becomes an inspiration for both Adam and Anita’s artistic pursuits. Adam and Anita both betray Adele with devastating consequences. The writing in this book is what makes it. Each page is full of beautifully written descriptions that justify pausing to digest. ♦

— Review by Hunter Gillum

 

By Leila Slimani
Penguin
Jan. 9, 2018
$16
240 pages

HIV

‘The Perfect Nanny’

Myriam and Paul are a busy young Parisian couple living comfortably in a chic apartment in the upscale tenth arrondissement. When Myriam decides to re-enter the work force after staying home with their two small children, the couple begins to search for a nanny. They can hardly believe their luck when, after interviewing countless unacceptable candidates, they meet Louise, who seems perfect.

The children adore Louise, who, in addition to caring for them, keeps the apartment spotless, does the laundry, prepares delicious meals for the family and their dinner guests, and generally organizes the household and family. As their lives become ever more entwined, Myriam and Paul grow increasingly uneasy, and Louise, facing personal trials unknown to her employers, slowly unravels.

Translated from French, this is a short, gripping novel that delves into a working mother’s guilt and the quiet desperation of the woman to whom she has entrusted the care of her children. ♦

— Review by Sally Wisdom

 

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