Thursday 17 January 2019

Adele by Leila Slimani @FaberBooks @portassoph #Adele Translated by Sam Taylor

Adèle appears to have the perfect life. A respected journalist, she lives in a flawless Parisian apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But beneath the veneer of 'having it all', she is bored - and consumed by an insatiable need for sex, whatever the cost. Struggling to contain the twin forces of compulsion and desire, she begins to orchestrate her life around her one night stands and 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.
An erotic and daring story - with electrically clear writing - Adèle will captivate readers with its exploration of addiction, sexuality, and one woman's quest to feel alive.

Adele by Leila Slimani is published in paperback by Faber Books on 7 February 2019, it is translated by Sam Taylor.

At the end of 2017 I read and reviewed this author's debut novel Lullaby and was incredibly impressed by the writing. I've been looking forward to reading Adele for months, and I have to say that I've not been disappointed.

Although Adele is a very short novel at 224 pages, it is a very dark and intense read. In Adele, the author focusses on a woman who seems to have the perfect life. Adele is married to a consultant surgeon, they are wealthy, with a nice apartment in Paris. They have one small son and Adele has a job working as a journalist.

However, Adele is bored. She's bored with the appearance of perfection. She's bored with being a mother, and bored of being what could be perceived as a trophy wife. The only thing that relieves her boredom is sex. Lots of sex; dirty and grubby and often violent sex, but not with her husband. Adele has a string of lovers, of one-night stands with nameless, forgettable men.

Adele has been called 'erotic fiction' and whilst it certainly details Adele's sex life in great detail, it feels much more than just a book of erotica.
It is the author's ability to create characters who are compelling yet distasteful that I so admire. At no time did I feel any empathy for, or with Adele or her husband, yet I hardly took a breath whilst reading. This is an ingenious and clever character study, and whilst the reader is entrenched in Adele's life, we know so little about her. The author does provide a glimpse into Adele's younger life and her family set up is bizarre and quite possibly contributed to the adult she has become. However, the author does not try to use this an excuse, but more of a window into possibility.

Leila Slimani is such a talent, I am hugely impressed by her skill. This is a daring book, with a subject matter that is usually hidden away and never discussed. The author writes with clarity and precision. I was gripped, surprised and enthralled, in equal measures.

Leïla Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for Lullaby.
A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture.
Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.

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