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Taj Fregene holds a copy of Adele by Leila Slimani
Adele by Leila Slimani

All the books I've read in 2019

8. Adèle by Leïla Slimani

Did I finish it or abandon it? I FINISHED IT

Would I recommend it? YES

A few weeks ago, I sent a silly tweet and won a free book in a competition. I chose Adèle. I’d read Lullaby, Leïla Slimani’s other novel, last year and really liked it. It was uncomfortable reading in a good way. It was the saddest story I’ve read in ages, and parts of it really stuck with me.

Adèle is Leïla’s debut novel. It’s about an attractive Parisian who is also a sex addict and, just like Lullaby, this is a story of sadness.

On the surface the eponymous Adèle has is all. She’s a successful journalist, she’s rich, she’s beautiful, she’s the mother to a little boy. But her compulsion eats away at her and pushes her down an ever more self-destructive path. Also, the way she derives little or no enjoyment from the act itself left me thinking how realistic a portrayal of addiction this book is. Reading this book gave me a mounting sense of dread. Despite her being the main miscreant in the story, I feared for Adèle’s safety. And I don’t just mean her physically, but her financial and her emotional safety too.

This book is well written and, just like Lullaby, I think it will stay with me for some time yet.


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