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Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS - JOHN MEAGHER

Faber & Faber, 224 pages, €12 The win­ner of the Prix Gon­court — France’s pre­mier lit­er­ary award — was a sen­sa­tion back home and made its young au­thor a house­hold name. Fur­ther­more, Pres­i­dent Macron made the French-Moroc­can writer an emis­sary for the French lan­guage.

Sli­mani’s sec­ond book cen­tres on a nanny who kills the two young chil­dren in her charge — a rev­e­la­tion on the very first page — and traces her back­ground and mo­ti­va­tions as well as her re­la­tion­ship with the chil­dren and their mother, an am­bi­tious lawyer.

As well as a thriller that’s been called the lit­er­ary Gone Girl, Lul­laby asks big ques­tions about France to­day — es­pe­cially around race, class and money. The Swedish novel The Hun­dredYear-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Win­dow and Dis­ap­peared be­came a global best­seller in the early part of this decade and few of its fans will have been sur­prised that Al­lan Karls­son makes a re­turn in this se­quel.

The cen­te­nar­ian For­rest Gump, who sees no harm in any­one, and his batty side­kick Julius, find them­selves in a se­ries of un­for­tu­nate places in­clud­ing a North Korean ship on a nu­clear weapons mis­sion for Kim Jong-un. A diplo­matic cri­sis en­sues and fea­tures con­tem­po­rary global lead­ers like Trump and Merkel. Tar­geted as­sas­si­na­tions of any­one deemed to be a threat have been a fea­ture of Israel since its es­tab­lish­ment and here, in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Bergman takes the reader in­side his coun­try’s tar­geted-killing pro­grammes and ex­plores their suc­cesses, fail­ures, and the moral and po­lit­i­cal price ex­acted on the men and women who ap­proved and car­ried out the mis­sions.

The writer gained the rare co­op­er­a­tion of many cur­rent and for­mer mem­bers of the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, as well as high-level fig­ures in the coun­try’s mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices: the Israel De­fence Forces, Mos­sad, Cae­sara (a Mos­sad within Mos­sad that car­ries out at­tacks on the high­est value tar­gets).

NON-FIC­TION Rise and Kill First Ro­nen BergmanJohn Mur­ray, 784 pages, €20

FIC­TIONThe Ac­ci­den­tal Fur­ther Ad­ven­tures of the 100-Year-Old ManJonas Jonas­son Fourth Es­tate, 448 pages, €10

FIC­TION Lul­laby Leïla Sli­mani

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