...psychological suspense novel about a 'perfect' nanny who snaps ...aspires toward the taut elegance of that classic nanny nightmare tale, Henry James’s 'The Turn of the Screw,'... The voice of Slimani’s omniscient third-person narrator is consistently chill and precise; her plot spares neither her characters’ fates nor her readers’ sensibilities ... Poetic phrases like that one abound throughout the novel and elevate it well above its formulaic premise, one that has inspired many a Lifetime television movie ... Surely it’s the enduring masochistic power of that nightmare — rendered particularly vivid here through Slimani’s great stylistic gifts — that have made this slim novel an international bestseller.
...this book’s elegant prose, sharp plotting, and masterful blend of suspense and literary fiction combine to deliver an outstanding crime novel that will appeal to readers looking for an understated – yet distinctly sinister – story of suspense ... The Perfect Nanny thrills not with plot twists and blood, but with understated suggestions of violence that’s to come, but violence which is very limited on the page ... Readers will find themselves swept along in a story that is as sparse as it is technically beautiful. Woven into this compelling story are sharp and poignant instances of commentary on race, motherhood, and class...relies on very limited and calculated character development to deliver its brand of sinister suspense ...will not be the right choice for a reader hoping for a twisty-turny, breakneck pace thriller, but it will perfectly suit the reader who prefers to be chilled by twisted subtleties and sinister implications.
Slimani’s disturbing portrait of class, race and motherhood begins with a slaughter of innocents and then ratchets up the tension as clues multiply of how the increasingly intimate relationship between a nanny and the family she works for could culminate in such an incomprehensible crime.