Lullaby by Leila Slimani
Lullaby (Faber and Faber 2018) by French author Leila Slimani is an unsettling and disturbing literary tale of shattered domestic harmony, told in simple but compelling language. When Myriam decides to return to work, she and her husband Paul are delighted to discover the services of Louise, a nanny who is quiet, devoted and capable. But as their lives become entangled, resentments and suspicions surface. From the chilling opening line: ‘The baby is dead’ to the final tense scene, this exploration of motherhood, madness, poverty, class and power will hold you entranced.
The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham
Rosalie Ham’s darkly comic, satirical novel The Year of the Farmer (Picador 2018), set in a small community in rural Australia, explodes with intrigue and subterfuge when the locals battle the Water Authority and struggle to cope with the continuing drought. Our hero, Mitch, is paying the price for accidentally marrying the wrong woman, the devious Mandy. When his old flame Neralie returns to town after five years to run the pub, personalities collide, old scores are settled and true love is rekindled. The eccentric characters (in this book by the author of The Dressmaker) are memorable and the plot is fast-paced and hilarious.
Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop
Man Out of Time (Hachette 2018) by Stephanie Bishop is an extraordinary portrait of a man’s descent into madness, and the disturbing effects on his wife and daughter, expressed in powerful literary language that completely immerses us into their interior lives. This meditation on life, love and loss examines the legacy of mental illness and the inescapable inheritances of family.