Episode 43 is a pretty exciting one for The High Low - a bit of a pinch-me moment, if you will. One minute we were begging Faber & Faber for an advance copy of French novelist Leila Slimani’s cult read, Lullaby - a troubling but beautifully written read about a nanny who murders her two young charges - the next, we had Leila in our studio.
The twelfth woman to win the Prix Goncourt, last year (the highest literary prize in France, previous winners include Proust) Lullaby sold a whopping 600,000 copies in Leila’s native France (under the title, ‘Chanson Douce’), led to Emmanuel Macron asking Leila to be the Minister for Culture (she turned it down) and the movie rights have, unsurprisingly, been snapped up. Comparisons with Gone Girl and Girl on a Train are crass - but indicative of the book’s breathtaking success.
Leila talks to us about finding unexpected success with her “ little book” (“I thought my great book would be about war”), the societal role of working motherhood and the nanny (who is both "inside and outside of the home”) and why being a Muslim woman of North African descent “does not mean I care about identity.”
Also today, we discuss Catherine Deneuve’s apology, whether the Babe.Net piece about Aziz Ansari undermines the MeToo movement; the H&M hoodie-race-row, why the new cultural buzz-trend of ’self-care’ is lofty BS (isn’t it just letting yourself buy the cushiony bog roll, not the scratchy stuff?) and the joyous news that The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to the UK for the very first time in 950 years. Joking, thought that’s quite cool that France finally let it leave. Not so cool? That 24,000 attempts to access porn from inside the Houses of Parliament have been made since the General Election. THAT’S 700 A DAY.
Lots of pieces have been getting us talking and hotly debating this week. Read them - and lots of podcast recs - below!
Thanks you to our sponsors Treatwell and Google Pixel 2 and Wardour Studios, who hosted us this week.
You can e-mail The High Low firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us @thehighlowshow.
Angela Hartnett on Desert Island Discs http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09lxn6w
Daisy Buchanan on Desert Island Dishes https://www.acast.com/margiebroadhead/29-daisy-buchanan-author-and-journalist
Lullaby, by Leila Slimani https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lullaby-Leïla-Slimani/dp/0571337538
The Killer-Nanny Novel That Conquered France by Lauren Collins for The New Yorker https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/01/the-killer-nanny-novel-that-conquered-france
The Melting Season, by Jami Attenburg https://www.amazon.co.uk/Melting-Season-Jami-Attenberg/dp/1594484996
Swimming Underwater, by Tatterhood http://www.tatterhood.co.uk/poems/
The humiliation of Aziz Ansari, by Caitlin Flanagan for The Atlantic