ATELIER JANUARY '18
Lullaby by Leïla Slimani (Faber&Faber) - I just finished this French bestseller about a nanny who kills two children she was meant to be taking care of (and no, that is not a spoiler, Slimani reveals this on the first page of the book). Some people have compared it to Gone Girl, but for me this thin book stands by itself for its psychological depth, beautiful use of language (brilliant translation from French to English by Sam Taylor), jumping backwards and forwards, which only increases the already growing tension, and portraying the characters with a great precision. I do not have words for the ending... Just go and read it. You will hate it and love at the same time!
He knows how much they need Louise, but he can't stand her any more. With her doll's body, her irritating habits, she really gets on his nerves. Lullaby
Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis (Vintage) - My favourite Brontë was always the youngest one, Anne. So when I found out that Ellis recently published her biography, I couldn't wait to read it. And I definitely wasn't disappointed. Do not expect a boring recreation of Anne's life, but rather Ellis's personal recount of this talented writer's background history, including information on her parents and aunt, dead siblings, beloved sisters and problematic brother. This book has something to offer to every Brontë's lover, no matter which one of the sisters you personally prefer, as Ellis skilfully includes everyone who had impact on Anne's life (I notably enjoyed the chapter exploring the life of the nanny/housekeeper, who showed Anne the beauty of moors!). Someone could argue that Ellis does not always remain impartial (especially when it comes to describing Charlotte). But for me she composed a book that is interesting, enriching, insightful and, most importantly, well written so after finishing it you want to go and re-read all of the Brontë sisters' books from a whole new point of view!
In The Tenant of the Wildfell Hall, she takes a heroine who starts out like all the other Brontë heroines, charmed by a sexy dangerous man, but she sees the light and leaves him. It's very refreshing. And it wasn't what anyone wanted to hear in 1848. Take Courage
Btw, if you are a fan of the Brontë sisters, after reading the book watch also this brilliant documentary.
The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jocker (Penguin) - I am still not sure how I am feeling about this book. Its authors set their goal to decipher the secret of bestsellers (including Fifty Shades of Grey, The Da Vinci Code, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Harry Potter). And although they provide you with a lot of insightful details that force you to reflect on the way you read books, certain passages from the book could be left out as I remember myself struggling to keep attention. Basically, it was about five pages of a pointless talking (I am really sorry for putting it this way), three pages of super interesting information (where I was underlying almost every single sentence or even laughing out-loud), then again, six pages of boredom... I would say that this books is a good read for every booklover. But prepare yourself that in order to get to its good parts you will have to also go through endless passages in which you learn basically nothing.
Stick to real people. No dwarfs, no lords, no warriors, no priestesses, no sergeants, no dukes, and no wizards (there will only ever be one Harry). Finally, no unicorns. The Bestseller Code
Note: if you are disappointed that I have not read more, I also finished Mauriac's Therese Desqueyroux (if you like Madame Bovary by Flaubert, you will really enjoy this title), Dangerous Liaisons by Laclos and did a close analysis of some parts of Proust's In Search of Lost Time for my French course, plus I devoured about fifty secondary sources for my English dissertation. So I swear, I am reading books, they are just simply not as interesting as my previous reads!