Adele – Leila Slimani
(translated by Sam Taylor)
After reading and loving Lullaby (which for some reason has been renamed The Perfect Nanny), I knew Leila Slimani was going to be one of my go to authors. Adele is her debut novel, which, thanks to the success of Lullaby/The Perfect Nanny, has now been translated and released in English. Despite my excitement at getting ARC of this some months ago, I only just got around to reading it. My bad. I am easily distracted.
Adèle appears to have the perfect life: She is a successful journalist in Paris who lives in a beautiful apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But underneath the surface, she is bored–and consumed by an insatiable need for sex.
Driven less by pleasure than compulsion, Adèle organizes her day around her extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she’s been, until she becomes ensnared in a trap of her own making. Suspenseful, erotic, and electrically charged, Adèle is a captivating exploration of addiction, sexuality, and one woman’s quest to feel alive.
Ok, so I know it is not fair to compare books, but I need to in order to show you guys how good Leila Slimani is at getting to the darker undercurrent of society. In Lullaby/The Perfect Nanny/Whatever the name is, we open with a horrific event and work backwards. You know nothing is ats it seems, and yet everything seems to perfect and ordinary.
With Adele, we are dropped into the middle of the drama, the perfection is revealed as an illusion right from the start. A fun, easy read isn’t what you’re going to get here, but a dark, riveting, almost poetic exploration of the darker side of humanity is what you’ll get here.
Apparently, Adele is based on real-life events, with the Dominque Strauss-Khan scandal being cited by the author as the inspiration behind this. I had no idea who that was, but a little research told me that he was a French politician who was described as being a sex addict, which is what made Leila Slimani want to look at what life would be like for a female sex addict. Considering female sexuality is still somewhat taboo this was as interesting as it is disturbing.
Adele will literally go after all and every man she passes for gratification, business colleagues, family friends, her best mate’s boyfriend… She doesn’t care who it is as long as she can get what she wants. She’s married but unsatisfied with her normal comfortable life, she isn’t a likable character and while I know addiction is an awful disease and I feel for anyone suffering with it, I couldn’t sympathise with Adele at all. I just can’t, she’s loathsome.
I’m still not sure what I think of this book now I’m done with it, but what I am sure of is that this was interesting and beautifully written and Leila Slimani has really cemented herself as a bold and brave writer who isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects. This was published in the UK in January, so is available from bookstores now!