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