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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Adèle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    'Female sexuality is more often associated with lasciviousness and motherhood than with perversion. This is unexplored territory.' Explaining why she chose female sexual addiction as a subject for her debut novel, Leïla Slimani, the French-Moroccan author of the Prix Goncourt winning novel Chanson douce (translated into English as The Perfect Nanny/Lullaby) asserted it was the DSK affair and her bewilderment on how such a strong sexual drive can manage to bring someone down, that inspired her to 'Female sexuality is more often associated with lasciviousness and motherhood than with perversion. This is unexplored territory.' Explaining why she chose female sexual addiction as a subject for her debut novel, Leïla Slimani, the French-Moroccan author of the Prix Goncourt winning novel Chanson douce (translated into English as The Perfect Nanny/Lullaby) asserted it was the DSK affair and her bewilderment on how such a strong sexual drive can manage to bring someone down, that inspired her to explore such a drive from the perspective of a woman and to paint this brutal and disconcerting portrayal of a woman in the grip of her body yearning for extreme acts of lewd sex (the ogre in the French title). In Dans le jardin de l’ogre (In the Ogre’s Garden) (of which the English translation, Adèle: A Novel will be published in February 2019), Slimani focusses on Adèle Robinson, a journalist living in a posh neighbourhood in Paris with her three year old son and her husband, Adèle seems to wrestle with quite some issues, in particular a self-destructive and uncontrollable urge to have sex. Despite the affection she feels for her son and her husband, she can’t resist to seize every opportunity she gets – a dinner party with her husband’s colleagues, a visit of an art gallery, an after work drink - to give her body what it ask for. Balancing on the verge of exhaustion, she tosses herself from one stranger’s bed to another nightly blow job in some grubby alley, organising her life compulsively around her urge, without however taking pleasure from her acts. While denying her body food, she attempt to fill the egregious void in herself with cheerless sex. Like a substance addict she has to score her next shot of fornication to feel alive, to exist: ‘Somewhere in her oblivion is the reassuring feeling that she has existed countless times in the desire of others’. ‘She is hurt and bitter. Tonight she does not manage to exist. Nobody sees her, nobody listens to her.’ Slimani doesn’t burrow into Adèle’s hung-up psyche or thoughts nor judges her, She mostly relies on describing Adèle’s behaviour and the consequences of it on her family life to capture Adèle’s vulnerability and her suffering – from the beginning it is obvious we will read a novel on intense suffering and alienation, as we can tell by the quote from Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem as an epitaph (‘It isn't me, someone else is suffering. I couldn't. Not like this.’). Some parallels with Madame Bovary pour in: like Emma is married to doctor Charles Bovary Adèle’s husband Richard is a (similarly limp) gastroenterologist, and the boredom reigning Adèle’s sophisticated urban life is as seething as Emma’s wilting in provincial life. What struck me in this novel, as it did in two other works I recently read (Jane Austen’s Lady Susan & John Steinbeck’s short story The Chrysanthemums), is the need of the women protagonists to feel desired in order to have the feeling to exist. This reminded me of the reaction of the former French minister Laurence Rossignol: on the open letter in Le Monde signed by a hundred prominent Françaises criticising the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc movements as a puritanical witch-hunt, in which they defend ‘a freedom to importunate necessary for sexual freedom’ (letter also signed by Slimani) on which Rossignol expresses her bafflement with regard to ‘This strange anguish to no longer exist without the gaze and desire of men which drives intelligent women to write huge nonsense’ – which elicited the Belgian historian Anne Morelli (who also signed the open letter) the response we simply have to face that most women exist through the gaze of men. Do women need that male gaze to feel alive? Sigh. Reflecting on that confronting question the mind totters into troubling territory, unsure whether I can relate to such opinion, or not. Adèle personifies this need to be seen in an extreme way. She desires to see herself reflected in the desire of men, hooked to their arousal, their responses to her body. A key moment in the novel relates Adèle’s epiphany reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, as a young girl, particularly a passage describing how Tereza’s body betrays her by getting excited against her will – this flashback suggesting that the origin of Adèles issues traces back to her youth. Closing the novel, I wondered which point Slimani intends to make on female sexuality by this study of perversion. Is this a portrait of a pitiful, lonely and sick woman or rather one of an ailing capitalist society where both work and family life are deeply unsatisfying and alienating? Later, having received numerous reactions and personal testimonies of Moroccan women responding to her novel (which resulted in a non-fiction book, Sexe et mensonges (Sex and Lies) she explained in an interview she now considers ‘Adèle as a slightly extreme metaphor for the sexual lives of many Moroccan women, who struggle to reconcile the reality of their private lives with the public narrative of a society in which everyone is supposedly married or a virgin’ and she denounces the Moroccan society to be ‘consumed by the poison of hypocrisy and by an institutionalized culture of lies,’ arguing ‘that repression is as corrosive to society as it is to the psyche.’ She blames a sexually oppressive society for women having a distorted relationship with their bodies, exposing how prohibitions weighing on sexuality result in obsessiveness and mental disorder as ‘everything is done in secret, in a kind of malaise’. And here Kundera’s novel – of which the meditations on body and soul apparently have been of some influence on Slimani- could come into the picture again - ‘When we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it.’ As the author acknowledges she experiences French society entirely different and far more open and relaxed on sexuality, I am not entirely convinced by what to me comes across as an hineininterpretierung of her own novel, as her protagonist is not Moroccan and seems to live an all but subdued life (at least if marriage and motherhood aren’t synonymous with oppression in Slimani’s view). Despite Adèle’s obvious suffering and loneliness, I found it almost impossible to empathise with her, as Slimani depicts her protagonist as an utterly unlikeable woman, not because of her sexual debauchery but by underlining what an egotistical, bored and overindulged creature she is as a privileged petite bourgeoise ‘having it all’ – the distance to the character sharpened by Slimani’s detached and chilly style. Staggering to me is not as much the unmistakable rawness of this story or Adèle’s behaviour as such, but her inner emptiness. Whether Slimani’s novel can be categorised as erotic or not, seems to me a matter depending on the personal taste of the reader - unlike other reviewers (and the blurb) I didn’t experience this disengaged account of Adèle’s excesses as erotic. Having recently read The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter’s far wilder and at the same time more tender and sensual imagination in that respect resonated far more with me erotically than Slimani’s bleak exploration of soullessness. Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I don’t know…

  2. 5 out of 5

    j e w e l s

    FIVE STARS Adèle is about a doctor’s wife who is a mother to a young son. She appears so happy with all the pleasures of financial success and a career as a journalist. She appreciates her role in life for the social status it affords her and, most importantly, for the useful cover it provides for her secret compulsion. As in The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani dives way below the surface to expose the nakedness, the self that controls our desires, obsessions, and motivations. THE PERFECT NANNY was FIVE STARS Adèle is about a doctor’s wife who is a mother to a young son. She appears so happy with all the pleasures of financial success and a career as a journalist. She appreciates her role in life for the social status it affords her and, most importantly, for the useful cover it provides for her secret compulsion. As in The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani dives way below the surface to expose the nakedness, the self that controls our desires, obsessions, and motivations. THE PERFECT NANNY was about a seemingly flawless nanny who ended up killing her two young charges. Who are these women that are so very different than they appear? They want to belong to society. They don’t want to be outcasts so they marry, have children, work at respectable careers---YET, this doesn’t mean they are able to quash their secret SELF. In this case, Adele suffers from sex addiction. She is never formally diagnosed in the story, but obviously Adele is completely unable to stop herself. When she is forced to give up the desires for mere days, she becomes so depressed that she’s almost catatonic. The withdrawal is so painful for her, you can easily see that sex is a drug for her. She must have it to survive. Without it, she may as well be dead. Psychopathy and personality disorders are undoubtedly fun to read about in fiction. But, what if your sister was suffering like Adele? This extremely dark novel reads like a true story, a horrible story; one that has you wincing, yet unable to tear your eyes away from the page. The extreme sex she craves and willingly submits to, the violence she longs to have her body subjected to….is almost too much to read. Just like THE PERFECT NANNY, Slimani barely skims the reasons WHY her characters are the way they are. What causes these personality flaws? Adele had a bad relationship with her mother, but basically there aren’t any reasons given. Instead, Slimani concentrates on the effects of the “disorder” and the devastating human toll it takes on family members and friends. I love deep analytical character diving and found this novel absolutely fascinating. There are not any big reveals or twists, but the inside glimpse at this woman’s life is perfectly gripping. I admire the realistic ending. Slimani is an intelligent, beautiful writer. I will read anything she writes!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    People who are never satisfied destroy everything around them. The story of the dissatisfied wife isn't a new one. Flaubert and Tolstoy cinched the market on that topic over 150 years ago. But it's still a relevant one, and some might say more authentic when written from the perspective of a female author. Adèle is a beautiful journalist living in Paris with her doctor husband and young son. On the surface, it is the life of dreams. In reality, she is in hell, feeling dissatisfaction and alien People who are never satisfied destroy everything around them. The story of the dissatisfied wife isn't a new one. Flaubert and Tolstoy cinched the market on that topic over 150 years ago. But it's still a relevant one, and some might say more authentic when written from the perspective of a female author. Adèle is a beautiful journalist living in Paris with her doctor husband and young son. On the surface, it is the life of dreams. In reality, she is in hell, feeling dissatisfaction and alienation that can only be quelled (temporarily) by casual sexual encounters. And by casual, I mean CASUAL. Adèle doesn't know or even want these men, isn't attracted by them in any way. What she needs is their attraction. It seems to give her life meaning, at least for a short time, before she tumbles back into a self-loathing-fuelled resolve to stop this dangerous series of betrayals. Because even though she doesn't want her husband sexually, she needs him. She's pretty awful, this Adèle, but I never fully hated her. Like a drug addict, her behaviour is a compulsion, one that is destroying her, bit by bit. I mean, the girl isn't having fun - at one point she is in a room with two male prostitutes, high on cocaine, and gets one of them to knee her violently in the crotch so she can actually 'feel something'. It's sickening, it's disturbing, and all I felt was pity for her. These encounters are depressing and repetitive, and there's really nothing erotic about them. She's likely the emptiest person in the world. Her existence is palatable only through the string of male desire that she inspires - is it possible for someone to be this void? To be a container for male attention, and only that? On one hand, I found this was far superior to and less pretentious than Hausfrau. On the other, the self destructive sex was better treated in Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair. While Adèle reads quickly and easily and has several wonderful passages about loneliness and isolation, at the end, this book was about as satisfying as Adèle's sex life. I sat with my reading of it, and felt empty, like the protagonist. I didn’t learn anything from the hours I spent watching a woman seek male gaze to the detriment of herself and everyone around her. My mind just keeps searching for the purpose in all of this mindless fucking. While I've heard this book described as "subversive", I'm inclined to say this is the opposite of subversive writing. Intentionally or not, Slimani is perpetuating the age-old idea of female objectification. And that, friends, is boring. 2.5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Drab...dreary...formulaic writing! I kept reading hoping for something to grab me emotionally or intellectually.... I was ‘surprised’ - really surprised - that a potentially intriguing topic could possibly be so down right dull and boring! Maybe that’s the point of empty meaningless sex... Dull... Dull... Dull!!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Slimani claims she wrote this novel after being inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, wanting, she said, to look at the phenomenon of sex addiction through a female perspective. I'm not sure I believe her. And even if I did, I'm not sure that would be a useful lens through which to examine this book: for one thing, I doubt whether Strauss-Kahn was really a sex addict, rather than just a sleazy politician comfortable with abusing his power; and for another thing, I think in the DSK case Slimani claims she wrote this novel after being inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, wanting, she said, to look at the phenomenon of sex addiction through a female perspective. I'm not sure I believe her. And even if I did, I'm not sure that would be a useful lens through which to examine this book: for one thing, I doubt whether Strauss-Kahn was really a sex addict, rather than just a sleazy politician comfortable with abusing his power; and for another thing, I think in the DSK case his maleness was pretty essential to the power dynamics involved, which means that transposing the genders misses half the point. Even setting all that stuff aside, though, involves quite an interesting engagement with the text – and you're still left with this intense and surprisingly believable description of a woman stuck in a self-destructive spiral of risky sex and shitty life decisions. Adèle Robinson lives in a plush apartment in the 18th; she's married to a surgeon who dotes on her; she has a small son; she has a comfortable job as a journalist. And she keeps up a double life of rough one-night stands and emotionless affairs. Adèle fucks anyone and everyone: her husband's colleagues, random strangers, family friends, professionals. She hires hotel rooms, drags them into alleyways, drops to her knees in the cloakrooms of dinner parties. She's not attracted to her partners: she just needs to know that she is wanted, desired, she just needs to feel that rush of physical sexual response. ‘Elle n'aspire qu'à être voulue.’ She is, let's be clear, an absolute monster. The way she treats her husband, her son and her few friends is appalling, and Slimani builds up these details with the relentless concentration of someone working a razorblade under your toenail. The low point for me came when Adèle took advantage of her husband's being in hospital to hire two male prostitutes to come round to her flat with some cocaine, and then reached for one of her little son's cartoon DVDs on which to cut up some lines. At this detail I felt such a rush of hatred that I actually laughed out loud. And yet while Adèle is spectacularly unpleasant, she is never unbelievable. You can even almost understand her. Her life is deeply unfulfilling; her husband, who seems to love her, is a stultifying presence, parenthood is a weight around her neck, and her own mother has clearly been a lifelong source of vicious emotional blackmail. Adèle's fear of death, her terror of getting older, also feed into her compulsion to prove that her body can still generate intensity – can spark something, even if what it sparks becomes increasingly masochistic. Her quest for this sensation renders all ‘friendships, ambitions, schedules, impossible’. Perhaps it's this characterisation which makes the book work for me. When I finished it, I was left with the difficult problem of understanding why I had liked it so much, when I was so unmoved by Jill Alexander Essbaum's Hausfrau, a book with a very similar plot and set-up, but in Zurich instead of Paris. Essbaum's protagonist just irritated me; Adèle, by contrast, manages to be both more loathsome and more sympathetic. Adèle's fate is also less melodramatic, and did not strike me in the same way as a case of punitive moralising. This also has a terrific sense of place – it's a great Paris novel, full of the city's meaningful geography, and Adèle herself is a quintessential Parisienne, who feels an existential horror at her husband's plan to move to a big house en province. It's also interesting for metatextual reasons. Tahar Ben Jelloun, reviewing it for one of the French papers, pointed out that most Moroccan novelists produce a first book about the maghrebain experience, whereas this is a purely French novel. And it really is – not just in the putative link with the DSK affair, but in the whole context of French sexual politics, which are so different from those in England or the US. Though there are intriguing hints of North African awareness in here – the story takes place against the background of the Tunisian Revolution, and Adèle's father, Kader, is (we can infer) from the region. These and other details suggest that Dans le jardin de l'ogre may have more autobiographical resonance than is first apparent. Either way, anyone willing to accompany Adèle on her journey will find that the experience can be challenging, and upsetting, but also unexpectedly rewarding. (September 2018) This is today's Book of the day in The Guardian – the article misunderstands the novel in crucial ways, I think, but the set-up is pretty well captured: ‘What if you immured yourself in an utterly respectable life and then tried to fuck your way out of it?’ (Incidentally, it turns out that a lot of the mysterious motivations of this book can be clarified with reference to Slimani's later Sexe et mensonges.) (January 2019)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    It's been a long time since a book has left me bereft of words. For reasons unknown to me, I was immediately drawn to this book from the moment I read the synopsis and as soon as I downloaded it I abandoned the book I was previously reading, hell, I abandoned my life, and found myself immersed in this book, finishing it in one sitting. Adèle is, seemingly, the contented wife of a surgeon, raising a son that she adores while excelling at her job as a journalist. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could It's been a long time since a book has left me bereft of words. For reasons unknown to me, I was immediately drawn to this book from the moment I read the synopsis and as soon as I downloaded it I abandoned the book I was previously reading, hell, I abandoned my life, and found myself immersed in this book, finishing it in one sitting. Adèle is, seemingly, the contented wife of a surgeon, raising a son that she adores while excelling at her job as a journalist. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could be farther from the truth. I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book but, whatever it was, I didn't get it and THANK YOU TO THE BOOK GODS!! This is not a mystery, nor a thriller, and it is certainly not erotic fiction. This story is dark, like dark dark, like suffocatingly dark, featuring the taboo subject of sex addiction. Following Adèle on her downward spiral into the enslavement of her need for sex with strangers is not unlike that of any other addiction, I could have easily been reading a book about a heroin addict. It's not the sexual release Adèle seeks but the thrill, the high from the adrenalin, the danger and the pain that she feels and, as the reader, it is terrifying. "Men rescued her from her childhood. They dragged her from the mud of adolescence and she traded childish passivity for the lasciviousness of a geisha." Leila Slimani is an incredible writer with a style all her own. With this book she has managed to build a morose, tension-filled masterpiece filled with nuances that add incredible depth to an already deep subject. I imagine some readers will be disappointed with the ending but for me it was nothing short of sublime, genius storytelling, leaving me raw with emotion. Not every story should be wrapped up and presented to the reader with a big red bow. I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    After reading “The Perfect Nanny”, I was captivated by Leila Slimani’s writing style. She writes with a direct and edgy style that is straight to the point. Slimani follows up with an exploration of sexual addiction and another character that feels compelled to detach herself from reality. “Adele” is different than “The Perfect Nanny”. In “The Perfect Nanny” she examines a woman who most people wouldn’t consider successful; a nanny that doesn’t have a “traditional” life. In contrast, “Adele” fol After reading “The Perfect Nanny”, I was captivated by Leila Slimani’s writing style. She writes with a direct and edgy style that is straight to the point. Slimani follows up with an exploration of sexual addiction and another character that feels compelled to detach herself from reality. “Adele” is different than “The Perfect Nanny”. In “The Perfect Nanny” she examines a woman who most people wouldn’t consider successful; a nanny that doesn’t have a “traditional” life. In contrast, “Adele” follows a character that has a stereotypical life. Adele is married, she is a successful journalist, and she has a son with her husband. Slimani reminds us that one’s social status doesn’t disqualify them from the feeling that their lives are unsatisfying and mundane. The story follows Adele, a successful journalist in Paris. She has a seemingly perfect life with her husband, Richard and her son, Lucien. Despite all of this, Adele has a void within herself that she feels the need to fill. She does so by having anonymous and detached sex with different men in secret. She isn’t driven by love or affection, she’s driven by cumpulsion. “Adele is neither proud nor ashamed of her conquests. She keeps no records, recollects no names, no situations. She forgets everything very quickly.” Readers who know addiction well, understand that sex could be interchangeable with any vice; gambling, eating, smoking, drugs. All of these addictions could be considered self-destructive and they can all come with judgment from others. However, Slimani does a great job of examining the negative effects of Adele’s addiction without judgment. She also steers away from looking into why Adele feels an insatiable need for sex all of the time. Some readers may be turned off by this but I think that’s the genius behind Slimani’s style. Slimani would rather readers focus on the characters and the demons inside their heads than try to psychoanalyze the cause of the characters actions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Oh me, oh my! What did I just read??? This is a story about a young Parisian woman married to her surgeon husband with whom she has a young son. She is a successful journalist and her life appears to be perfect to anyone that may cast a glance her way, however, there is something stirring within Adele that she is unable to resist. Adele suffers from sex addiction which she keeps hidden away from everyone except her very best friend, Lauren, who is growing weary with covering up for Adele's infide Oh me, oh my! What did I just read??? This is a story about a young Parisian woman married to her surgeon husband with whom she has a young son. She is a successful journalist and her life appears to be perfect to anyone that may cast a glance her way, however, there is something stirring within Adele that she is unable to resist. Adele suffers from sex addiction which she keeps hidden away from everyone except her very best friend, Lauren, who is growing weary with covering up for Adele's infidelities. If you read Leila Slimani's book The Perfect Nanny then you know that she isn't an author that is afraid to go there and here we have another perfect example of being inside the mind of a woman that is not at all a pleasant place to be. I was a little hesitant with this one only because I don't really enjoy erotica or tons of gratuitous sex scenes in my books and obviously with the main character being a sex addict I thought that maybe I was venturing out of my comfort zone too much. However, because I loved The Perfect Nanny and her writing style I new I'd have to at least attempt this one. Here's the thing, there is nothing erotic about this book and while it's scenes were described in detail it was absolutely essential in order to tell this story and to do it proper justice. A very high "ick" factor with this one. If you think you can handle the subject matter then you will be rewarded with a fascinating character study of a disturbed mind. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Publishing for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    Strangely disturbing read. It deals with sex but it’s not a porn though it’s no use to seek erotic tension either. The main protagonist, Adele, is a young woman. Rather unfulfilled journalist, mother of little Lucien and devoted wife to her husband, Richard. This is her face she shows to the world. Adele is addicted to sex. Hotel rooms, stairwells, back alleys, restrooms. The dirtier and uglier places the better to get what her body wants. The young, the old, handsome or revolting, stranger or n Strangely disturbing read. It deals with sex but it’s not a porn though it’s no use to seek erotic tension either. The main protagonist, Adele, is a young woman. Rather unfulfilled journalist, mother of little Lucien and devoted wife to her husband, Richard. This is her face she shows to the world. Adele is addicted to sex. Hotel rooms, stairwells, back alleys, restrooms. The dirtier and uglier places the better to get what her body wants. The young, the old, handsome or revolting, stranger or neighbour, colleague from work or her husband’s friend. No matter who. She doesn’t seek love nor she gets it. She pursues something else. Not sure what to make of the novel. It’s quite well written but leaves me somewhat confused. I assume it had to be a kind of psychological study of a person in the grip of addiction, in a tangle of desires impossible to satiate. Some readers perhaps will see there hidden, erotic fantasies of the author though I don’t read it that way. But I struggle to understand it. And it doesn’t help the novel has any likeable protagonist. Even Lucien, Adele’s boy, is tetchy and mostly irritating little shit. The same with Richard, he seems to love Adele, but, by Lord, he rather adores her than something else. Perhaps he will build her improvised altar yet to worship object of his affection. It’s highly dysfunctional family, we get a glimpse yet of her parents and relationships with Rachard's family as well, and I think Slimani rather managed to render Adele’s inner life pretty well. My problem is that I couldn’t care about her at all. It was all the same to me if Richard will finally learn out about her activities or will she escape with her double life. Slimani wrote cold, almost clinical report on unhappy woman that I couldn’t relate to. In a way Adele reminds her more known literary predecessor, Emma Bovary. Okay, okay, I can hear you. It’s different league. I can see that. But I thought some likeness was not that coincidental. Adele, though rather unpleasant figure, felt to me believable. I could see her tiredness, I could feel the boredom that ate her away yet something was off. Something lacked.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Rating: - Disjointedness. -1 star - Background / insights lacking: the what, the why, the how, the what for? - 1 star - Seriously? No one ever noticed anything? Ouch. And she never got any illnesses? Not even some mild gonorrhea case? -1 star - While this is an interesting vignette of a nymphomaniac being her sex addicted self, it's not engaging or giving enough background or even an interconnected plot. We got a male parade, which is a chore to read, which is probably the way it was intended to be Rating: - Disjointedness. -1 star - Background / insights lacking: the what, the why, the how, the what for? - 1 star - Seriously? No one ever noticed anything? Ouch. And she never got any illnesses? Not even some mild gonorrhea case? -1 star - While this is an interesting vignette of a nymphomaniac being her sex addicted self, it's not engaging or giving enough background or even an interconnected plot. We got a male parade, which is a chore to read, which is probably the way it was intended to be. Still… not inspiring or anything. - 1 star Q His wife had been a perfect impostor. (c) Q His mysteriousness was at the root of her adoration. (c) Addiction can take different guises. Q She wants to be a doll in an ogre’s garden. … Adèle hopes that her children will not be like her. (c) Q How wonderful it would be to get paid for her talent of giving men pleasure. (c) Q She’s taking charge now, she’s treating them, and after a glass of Saint-Estèphe, in the woodsmoke-scented air, she has the feeling that they love her and are forever in her debt. (c) Q Her obsessions devour her. She is helpless to stop them. Because her life requires so many lies, it has to be carefully organized—an exhausting activity that occupies her entire brain, that gnaws at her. (c) Journalism as well: Q She opens a blank document and starts to type. She invents quotes from high-up anonymous sources: “a figure close to the government,” “a well-placed observer who asked to remain nameless.” She comes up with a nice hook, adds a dash of humor to distract any readers who were expecting the article to provide some information. She reads a few other pieces on the same subject and copy-and-pastes lines from each. The whole thing takes her barely an hour. (c) Q Adèle tries to act casual. The main thing is not to look as though you feel guilty. (c) Q All that matters to her is the freedom the job gives her. Her salary is low but at least she gets to travel. She can disappear, invent secret rendezvous, without having to justify herself. (c) Q The men are going to think that she’s up for it, easy, a slut. The women will treat her as a predator; the kinder ones might say that she’s emotionally fragile. They will all be wrong. (c) Q She looked down at her belly and then back up at her face. She wondered if she would once again become what she had been before. She was acutely aware of her own metamorphosis. (c) Q Never again will the slightest gesture be innocent. This terrifies and enraptures her. (c) Q Adèle has spent a long time looking up. She has examined dozens of ceilings, followed the curved lines of moldings, the rocking of lamps. (c) Q Eroticism covered everything. It masked the banality and vanity of things. … This quest abolished all rules, all codes. Friendships, ambitions, schedules . . . it made them all impossible. (c) Q Grief is a wonderful excuse. (c)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily B

    There is something about leila slimani’s writing and stories that seem to resonate with me. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. Her writing is honest and unglamorous and just makes sense to me. Similar to her previous novel, this one also seemed to be more of a character study. A very interesting one that wasn’t happy but nonetheless honest and realistic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Umut Rados

    I think there are things I loved about the book, and then there are parts I couldn't care less. Therefore I settled for a 3. First of all, Slimani's talent for personification is super. Adele was very real to me. I felt sympathy, anger, pity for her at times. She was a very realistic portrayal of a woman, that's not so common to see. Adele is a sex addict and it affects everything she does in her life. She also a wife and mother, and it definitely shows there’s not one type of person, woman or mo I think there are things I loved about the book, and then there are parts I couldn't care less. Therefore I settled for a 3. First of all, Slimani's talent for personification is super. Adele was very real to me. I felt sympathy, anger, pity for her at times. She was a very realistic portrayal of a woman, that's not so common to see. Adele is a sex addict and it affects everything she does in her life. She also a wife and mother, and it definitely shows there’s not one type of person, woman or mother. She and her husband annoyed the hell out of me, but I take it as a result of Slimani's good writing of human phycology and characterisation. Coming to what I found lacking in this book is an original, interesting plot. I read this plot before. It was nothing original. I kept waiting to see an interesting twist, which didn't come. Was it good writing? Yes. But, did I enjoy my time? Not so much as I didn't read an interesting line of events. Therefore, 3 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    When Adèle was first published in France in 2014 it boasted the incredibly strange title of Dans le jardin de l’ogre or, In The Ogre’s Garden. Now freshly translated and ready for Anglophone audiences, Leïla Slimani’s follow-up to Lullaby (which was actually published after this novel) follows Adèle, a wife and mother with an insatiable addiction to sex. The novel has been called ‘an erotic and daring story’ and it genuinely is both of those things. However, when you finish Adèle you end up feel When Adèle was first published in France in 2014 it boasted the incredibly strange title of Dans le jardin de l’ogre or, In The Ogre’s Garden. Now freshly translated and ready for Anglophone audiences, Leïla Slimani’s follow-up to Lullaby (which was actually published after this novel) follows Adèle, a wife and mother with an insatiable addiction to sex. The novel has been called ‘an erotic and daring story’ and it genuinely is both of those things. However, when you finish Adèle you end up feeling how a story about a sex addict could end up being so vanilla? Read my full review on my blog here: https://liquidays.wordpress.com/2019/...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    English: Adèle; French Original: Dans le jardin de l'ogre The protagonist of this book is a sex addict, but this should not mislead you into thinking that this is a novel about sex or that it is in any way erotic: As with every other addiction, it's less about the kind of behavior or substance the addict clings to, but about a person compulsively repeating destructive patterns, desperately trying to fight an emptiness. Although Adèle grew up experiencing her parents' marriage as ordinary and suf English: Adèle; French Original: Dans le jardin de l'ogre The protagonist of this book is a sex addict, but this should not mislead you into thinking that this is a novel about sex or that it is in any way erotic: As with every other addiction, it's less about the kind of behavior or substance the addict clings to, but about a person compulsively repeating destructive patterns, desperately trying to fight an emptiness. Although Adèle grew up experiencing her parents' marriage as ordinary and suffocating, she is now, at 37, married to an ordinary doctor (hello, Madame Bovary) and has a little son, because, well, that's what people do. Her main reason for working as a journalist is that her schedule allows for a lot of excuses and cover-ups for her numerous extramarital sexual exploits. Since she was a teenager, Adèle has perceived sex as a means to boost her self-worth, and now - being unhappy with her life and her decisions, but feeling unable to make changes - she obsessively seeks diversion in sex, and we are talking about the kind where she endlessly stares at ceilings and at walls, detecting cracks and signs of water damage while contemplating what she is expected to do, so it's not like she is enjoying herself. Adèle wants to be free, but freedom and sex against societal conventions are not the same thing - our protagonist is in fact miserable. Slimani choses not to give a neat and coherent explanation for Adèle's decisions, she is not excused or even portrayed as particularly likeable. Rather, we get clues, little bits and pieces that hint at the sources of her addiction, her inability to gain real agency over her life, and her efforts to preserve her inner freedom by turning herself into an object for men. The real provocation of the text is that Adèle is suffering from inertia and ennui, i.e., she is egotistical, but there is no denying that she is truly suffering - we as the readers are left to judge her and her decisions. What bothered me a little was the language though: It's not only that it is not lyrical, there even is a mechanical, über-obvious and sometimes bland quality to it, which you can certainly see as fitting if you consider the topic of the book, but it does not make for a captivating sound. There are also some issues with the German translation I listened to (e.g. I assume it's an attempt to translate "gênant", but "genierlich"? Mmmhhh...). So this short novel is slightly flawed, but hey, this was Slimani's debut, and she was certainly not playing it safe, and I appreciate that. Plus there's another dimension to it: In her native Morocco, adultery is a criminal offense, and Slimani, who lives in France, did have the book published there, knowing full well that it would cause a scandal. For her, it was important to adress the topic nevertheless, and I applaud her for it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden An enigmatic book that seems to be re-writing Madame Bovary with an eye on the paradoxes and conundrums of a modern woman. Where Emma Bovary wants life to be as sweepingly lush as the romance novels she's devoured, Adele desires something far more complex, something that she - and we - are hard pressed to identify and delineate. Bored of her bourgeois lifestyle, burdened by a doctor husband she doesn't love, a son who demands things of her she finds She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden An enigmatic book that seems to be re-writing Madame Bovary with an eye on the paradoxes and conundrums of a modern woman. Where Emma Bovary wants life to be as sweepingly lush as the romance novels she's devoured, Adele desires something far more complex, something that she - and we - are hard pressed to identify and delineate. Bored of her bourgeois lifestyle, burdened by a doctor husband she doesn't love, a son who demands things of her she finds difficult to give with any degree of constancy, Adele takes refuge in sex: the dirtier, more anonymous and increasingly violent, the better. She's not searching for love or romance, she wants to be looked at to affirm she exists, and her affirmations of life come from the 'vile and the obscene, the heart of bourgeois perversion and human wretchedness'. Slimani doesn't descend to pop psychological 'reasons' for Adele being the way she is - she just is. She wants to be debased rather than empowered (except she's the one who picks up and drops men), to be the object rather than the wielder of society's gendered gaze. She uses a form of eroticism to tear apart society's strictures: 'eroticism covered everything. It masked the banality and vanity of things... this quest abolished all rule, all codes. Friendships, ambitions, schedules... it made them all impossible.' A quick read but an exhilarating one written in pared back prose: transgressive, subversive, likely to divide readers, and yes, enigmatic and provocative rather than transparent. Many thanks to Faber & Faber for an ARC via NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Read By RodKelly

    Privileged psycho she-beast in a shitty marriage sleeps with half of Paris but the sex is weird and boring and then her husband finds out and then the marriage becomes even shittier, but they stay together anyway and so what?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Adele’s public life seems perfect: a journalist married to a doctor, mother to their three year old son, living the cosmopolitan life in Paris. Her private life though is bleak: a secret sex addict, she joylessly sleeps with any and almost every man she comes across, each degrading coupling becoming more desperate and unfulfilling. With no end in sight from her increasingly out-of-control behaviour, how long can she keep her private life from being exposed? Like her previous novel Lullaby, Leila Adele’s public life seems perfect: a journalist married to a doctor, mother to their three year old son, living the cosmopolitan life in Paris. Her private life though is bleak: a secret sex addict, she joylessly sleeps with any and almost every man she comes across, each degrading coupling becoming more desperate and unfulfilling. With no end in sight from her increasingly out-of-control behaviour, how long can she keep her private life from being exposed? Like her previous novel Lullaby, Leila Slimani’s Adele has an intriguing premise that she unfortunately totally fails to deliver on. I kept reading this relatively short novel wondering where it was going - and the answer was nowhere! Not just plot-wise either (there isn’t one) but in terms of a point. Adele sleeps around, she’s depressed the whole time, and that’s it. Ok, she’s an addict so that explains the compulsions and lack of satisfaction but it would have been appreciated if we had had a glimpse into what caused her to act this way. Slimani offers up scant details – she didn’t have the best childhood, though it wasn’t so bad and plenty of people don’t become sex addicts as a result of a shitty parent. So there’s no insight into how someone becomes this way and it doesn’t go anywhere or say anything which is just lazy, unimaginative writing. I guess you could say it’s sort of making the point that women are objectified but that’s hardly a new idea and very banal. Slimani’s distant storytelling means she never judges Adele’s behaviour (girl power…?) but her weak impressionistic style makes for an unmemorable narrative, despite the salacious subject matter. It’s well-written – it’s like a slightly more literary version of the porn-y novels that are so popular with many women – and it is morbidly interesting, if you see her behaviour as a reaction to the myriad existential issues we all deal with daily, albeit more extreme. Otherwise, Adele is an unremarkable and forgettable character portrait of a troubled person behaving incongruously for reasons nobody knows – as meaningless as all the sex Adele has!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fiona MacDonald

    I went into this blindly, thinking it would be a thriller like 'Lullaby'. It was nothing like that, and turned out to be a story about a sexually obsessed woman named Adele who can't stop having affairs under her trusting husband's nose. Nothing much happens throughout the book, and it becomes more and more smutty as time goes by... The translation was good, but nothing amazing. I went into this blindly, thinking it would be a thriller like 'Lullaby'. It was nothing like that, and turned out to be a story about a sexually obsessed woman named Adele who can't stop having affairs under her trusting husband's nose. Nothing much happens throughout the book, and it becomes more and more smutty as time goes by... The translation was good, but nothing amazing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amitaf0208

    Good thing it’s a short book. It started off interesting and then I got bored.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Adele seems to have a great life. She is married to a surgeon; they have a healthy young son. She's a successful journalist. She has everything she ever wanted. But she's grown bored with her job and distant from her husband. She loves her son, but hates that he is keeping her tied to a life she no longer wants. She seems to spiral out of control .. what she wants, what she needs is to have intimate relationships. She lies to her husband, she lies to her boss, she lies to her friends about where Adele seems to have a great life. She is married to a surgeon; they have a healthy young son. She's a successful journalist. She has everything she ever wanted. But she's grown bored with her job and distant from her husband. She loves her son, but hates that he is keeping her tied to a life she no longer wants. She seems to spiral out of control .. what she wants, what she needs is to have intimate relationships. She lies to her husband, she lies to her boss, she lies to her friends about where she goes .. and with whom. Her days are filled with thoughts of other men and what they will do and where they will go. But eventually, that's not enough either. This is a dark, depressing look at one woman's attempt to feel that she is worthy and the addictive nature of those attempts. Warning: Very explicit language and intimate moments. If you are a fan of erotica, you will most likely really like this book. I am not a fan, as most of the book was way too descriptive without a lot of substance. I didn't particularly like Adele or her husband. She seems to be on a different planet while he plods along and plans their life according to what he wants. Many thanks to the author / Penguin Group / Netgalley for the digital copy of ADELE. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    She wishes she was just an object in the midst of a horde. She wants to be devoured, sucked, swallowed whole. She wants fingers pinching her breasts, teeth digging into her belly. She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden. I chose the above quote to open with for two reasons: The original French title for Adèle is “Dans le jardin de l’ogre” (which is much more intriguing in my opinion), and also because it's from page one of this book – the reader knows right from the start that there's som She wishes she was just an object in the midst of a horde. She wants to be devoured, sucked, swallowed whole. She wants fingers pinching her breasts, teeth digging into her belly. She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden. I chose the above quote to open with for two reasons: The original French title for Adèle is “Dans le jardin de l’ogre” (which is much more intriguing in my opinion), and also because it's from page one of this book – the reader knows right from the start that there's something off about this Adèle. Author Leïla Slimani has stated that she was inspired to write a story of sex addiction after the DSK scandal and thought it would be interesting to flip it to the POV of a woman addict. On the one hand, that seems a loose connection – a middle-class wife and mother doesn't have the same sexual power as an influential politician who would eventually be accused of multiple sexual assaults – but Adèle's experiences here completely put me in mind of Michael Fassbender's performance in the movie “Shame”; the same joyless, unrewarding, self-harm that ultimately defines any kind of addiction; maybe sex addiction for ordinary people is the same for men and women, and as Slimani describes it here, it's just another route to a skid row of the soul. Adèle is a very French novel – it's interesting for a Canadian like me to read this kind of a story set in Paris, where sexual mores are a little different – and I can't say how much might have been lost in translation or my ignorance of social/cultural subtleties, but I was moved by Adèle's story – four stars is a rounding up. (Note: I read an ARC and quotes may not be in their final forms.) Men rescued her from her childhood. They dragged her from the mud of adolescence and she traded childish passivity for the lasciviousness of a geisha. Adèle Robinson is the thirty-five-year-old wife of a noted surgeon, living together with him and their three-year-old son in a chic Paris apartment. Her husband arranged a job in journalism for Adèle, and while at first she found it fulfilling, she now blows off meetings and deadlines as she arranges ever more risky sexual liaisons. Adèle seems incapable of human connection: she's frigid with her husband (who thinks himself above the animal desires anyway); she constantly screams at and abandons their child (who has been made whiny and tantrum-prone); she's a terrible friend (seducing the boyfriend of the “best friend” who provides alibis every time Adèle stays out all night); and when we meet Adèle's cold and manipulative mother, we're given small clues as to what childhood damage might have created a woman with such low self-esteem that she wants her body used and degraded. A note on Adèle's parentage: There's never any physical description given of Adèle (besides her being beautiful and anorexic), and her mother Simone is only described as kind of trashy, but her father's name is “Kader”, who has “long, tanned fingers”, and who is a nonpractising Muslim. As Slimani was born in Morocco, and as this book appears on the list of “Anticipated Literary Reads for Persons of Color 2019”, I kept wondering if Adèle is meant to be a person of colour – and I think it matters to the storyline. Was Adèle put on the Tunisia desk at work because she's supposed to be half-Tunisian? Is her constant (seemingly incongruous) fear of being raped as she walks at night related to her being marked as an interloper? Is a woman at a dinner party who complains of her nanny practising Ramadan (“You can't look after children when you're starving, can you?”) meant to be a dig at this beautiful daughter of a North African immigrant? And I can't help but wonder if Slimani left this ambiguous just to challenge my mental picture of what a well-off Parisian woman might look like. The man's mouth tastes of wine and cigarillos. Of forest and the Russian countryside. She wants him, and this desire, to her, feels almost like a miracle. She wants it all: him, and his wife, and this affair, and these lies, and the texts they will send, and the secrets and the tears and even the inevitable goodbye. He slips her dress off. His surgeon's hands, long and bony, barely brush her skin. His gestures are assured, agile, delicious. He seems detached and then suddenly furious, uncontrollable. A strong sense of theatre; Adèle is thrilled. He is so close now that her head starts to spin. She is breathing too hard to think. She is limp, empty, at his mercy. The plot develops, and there's a crisis and a followup, and the narrative ends in a twisty place; but this really isn't about the plot. I see reviewers who don't like this book because they don't like Adèle – it's easy to be turned off by the terrible wife and mother who risks everything for dangerous sex; it's easy to be turned off by the blackout drunk who wets his pants; turned off by the methhead who snatches purses from old ladies. Yet in each of these cases, none of the addicts are even seeking pleasure; just oblivion from a painful existence; to go limp and empty as a doll in an ogre's garden. Slimani draws a compelling portrait of a woman with sex addiction, and in the end, Adèle deserves compassion, too. (On a final note: I had assumed that Slimani's last best-selling novel, The Perfect Nanny, was typical domestic noir; now I'll probably check it out.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    What happens when a woman with an uncontrollable sex addiction tries to lead a family life? Adele tells the story of this situation where a wife and mother is leading a double life in order to fulfill her addiction. This book is extremely unique and is interesting to read from Adele’s point of view - there are many times I wanted to reach out and shake her and say WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! but, that’s exactly what feeds this story. So short it almost reads as a novella, it’s definitely worth the read What happens when a woman with an uncontrollable sex addiction tries to lead a family life? Adele tells the story of this situation where a wife and mother is leading a double life in order to fulfill her addiction. This book is extremely unique and is interesting to read from Adele’s point of view - there are many times I wanted to reach out and shake her and say WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! but, that’s exactly what feeds this story. So short it almost reads as a novella, it’s definitely worth the read. I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eric Anderson

    One of last year’s biggest literary breakouts was Leila Slimani’s Prix Goncourt winning novel “Lullaby” (known in the US as “The Perfect Nanny”). Her novel “Adele” was published in France before “Lullaby”, but it’s only now been translated and published in English. The heroine of this novel’s title is a journalist and mother with a steady husband. She appears normal and content, but running parallel to this stable life she has a secret existence filled with unruly passion and illicit affairs. Sh One of last year’s biggest literary breakouts was Leila Slimani’s Prix Goncourt winning novel “Lullaby” (known in the US as “The Perfect Nanny”). Her novel “Adele” was published in France before “Lullaby”, but it’s only now been translated and published in English. The heroine of this novel’s title is a journalist and mother with a steady husband. She appears normal and content, but running parallel to this stable life she has a secret existence filled with unruly passion and illicit affairs. She lazily does her job and barely musters the energy to get to the office every day. She resents her child and is turned off by her husband. All her passion is poured into furtive moments where men unleash their desire upon her because “Her only ambition is to be wanted.” This seemingly chaotic double life is untenable and there must be a breaking point. Read my full review of Adele by Leila Slimani on LonesomeReader

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    Adèle, a contemporary novel, was a solid 3.5 stars. The book centers around Adèle, a journalist living in Paris who happens to have a beautiful young son and a successful surgeon husband. While she seems to have a perfect life, Adèle suffers from sex addiction that overtakes every aspect of her life. Adèle is a slave to her addiction and though she seems to care about her family, she simply can’t be bothered with them-she goes through her daily routine only thinking about her next “fix”. Adèle i Adèle, a contemporary novel, was a solid 3.5 stars. The book centers around Adèle, a journalist living in Paris who happens to have a beautiful young son and a successful surgeon husband. While she seems to have a perfect life, Adèle suffers from sex addiction that overtakes every aspect of her life. Adèle is a slave to her addiction and though she seems to care about her family, she simply can’t be bothered with them-she goes through her daily routine only thinking about her next “fix”. Adèle is a well written book that I would recommend to mature readers (due to graphic content) and fans of fiction/dark/contemporary novels. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy for review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Neira

    "She wishes she were just an object in the midst of a horde. She wants to be devoured, sucked, swallowed whole....She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden." I have always been wary of literary translations, especially when they are a product of purpose and not necessity. The plot might manage to ease itself with aplomb into the narrative, but it is difficult to impose the distinctive character, rhythm, style, tone and motif of a work on another language that finds its identity in its own uniq "She wishes she were just an object in the midst of a horde. She wants to be devoured, sucked, swallowed whole....She wants to be a doll in an ogre's garden." I have always been wary of literary translations, especially when they are a product of purpose and not necessity. The plot might manage to ease itself with aplomb into the narrative, but it is difficult to impose the distinctive character, rhythm, style, tone and motif of a work on another language that finds its identity in its own unique style, pace and rhythm. An ideal translation, according to me, is one that does not appear to be a translation at all, and is bereft of the jarring linguistic discomfort that defines its inferior counterparts. I must admit that I did not enjoy Leïla Slimani 's The Perfect Nanny despite its intriguing plot and a nostalgic stream of consciousness, but I blamed it on my inability to engage successfully with the translated text. I thus approached her other offering, Adèle, with much trepidation. But I did not have to, for it emerged to be a fairly pleasant reading experience for me. The titular character Adèle Robinson leads a picture-postcard life with her husband Richard and their four-year-old son Lucien in a posh Parisian suburb. However, her successful career as a journalist and an idyllic domestic life only fill Adèle with a feeling of discontentment and claustrophobia, for she wishes to discover more in life. She finds herself imprisoned in a world where the social yardsticks do not yearn for anything beyond the conventional. What further leads to her frustration is the absence of sexual relationship with her husband, who thinks that gifting his wife a happy career and marital security would more than compensate for his lack of interest in sex. Caught in a life of monotonous boredom that subdues her dreams and desires, Adèle tries to seek emotional and physical jouissance to fill the dark ennui that threatens to overpower her through obsessive sexual escapades that lead to tragic, overwhelming consequences. In the characterization of Adèle, Slimani harks back to her fictional predecessors such as Anna Karenina, Edna Pontellier, Therese Desqueyroux and Emma Bovary, all swallowed by their disappointing lives, marriages and motherhood that demanded them to obediently comply to their roles and duties as wives and mothers. As women, they could not afford rebellion, and were forced to get married and relegate themselves to fulfilling their domestic duties. The only way to defy patriarchy without being labelled as outcasts was to use their respectable status of married women as sheaths to give life to their secret desires. Adèle too is appreciative of her status as a wife and mother not only for the social respectability it affords her, but also because it allows her to disguise her true self within its haloed folds. Her sexual encounters with men, described elegantly in a series of vignettes, and in a stark, sparsely embellished language, allow her momentary freedom and gratification, but their effects soon perish, dragging her to an even darker , hollower state of being. The conspiratorial quality of her sexual liberation both thrills and fascinates her, but also terrifies her and fills her with mercurial guilt. It empowers her, but also reduces her identity to an object of male gaze. Her constant attempt to transgress her prohibitions to uncage her suppressed desires despite realizing the personal, emotional and psychological havoc it would engender only makes the narrative more poignant and heartbreaking. However, even though the novel has many merits, I did not enjoy its overtly incohesive narrative, the excessively spartan, sometimes rather repetitive descriptions, its asymmetrical pacing, languid at times and rushed at others, and its population of characters without any breadth or depth. Slimani 's Adèle is a candid, uncompromising investigation of the consequences of the confrontation between a woman's inner desires and her social obligations, of the powers delineating the construction of her self and her fate , and most importantly, the different ways in which women can find their elusive real selves and wield them fearlessly, without any regrets.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. Last year I read Leila Slimani’s first translated release, Lullaby, and promptly fell in love with her raw and confrontational style of writing. In June this year I went to Hay Festival and attended a talk delivered by the author and promptly fell in love with the woman behind the words, as well. Slimani, in person, is as unabashed and authentic as her writing. She confronts the most caliginous and taboo topics of society and tells the stories that dwell in these dark sp Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. Last year I read Leila Slimani’s first translated release, Lullaby, and promptly fell in love with her raw and confrontational style of writing. In June this year I went to Hay Festival and attended a talk delivered by the author and promptly fell in love with the woman behind the words, as well. Slimani, in person, is as unabashed and authentic as her writing. She confronts the most caliginous and taboo topics of society and tells the stories that dwell in these dark spaces, without any pause for redemption. Both Lullaby and Adele, despite being two entirely different stories, are truths told in the written form. Adele provides the reader with eyes into the bourgeois Parisian world she dwells in. The story is largely about her obsession with sex, and the husband and child she leaves behind in the familial home when she ventures outside of it to fulfil her desires. It is a dark, little tale. There is no illumination granted and no character arc to venture upon. This tale is merely an insight, and Slimani does not choose to save her characters from their self-made plight. It is also a story delivered with very little outside commentary or interruption. It is largely left for the reader to do so, if they should so please. It is a very straightforward story and yet there is a wealth of insight and understanding garnered, despite never seeming to actually do so. Slimani is a skilful writer, in this and every other sense, and I can’t wait for my next voyeuristic venture into the dark with her.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    2 stars. In fact, 1.5 rounded up to 2. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a flop. I expected some interesting, provoking, insightful writing. I got flat boring patchy passages, with inconsistent content. The writing is weak, bleak and for the most part feels like a rushed patchwork covering holes. This book does not give you some thought provoking insight into sexuality, addiction, psychological impact of living with a sick woman. It offers a quick glance with nothing intriguing or interesti 2 stars. In fact, 1.5 rounded up to 2. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a flop. I expected some interesting, provoking, insightful writing. I got flat boring patchy passages, with inconsistent content. The writing is weak, bleak and for the most part feels like a rushed patchwork covering holes. This book does not give you some thought provoking insight into sexuality, addiction, psychological impact of living with a sick woman. It offers a quick glance with nothing intriguing or interesting. Adele is good at pretending so she pretends that she has a good, happy life. She is a professional, a wife, a mother. But above all she is a desperate sex addict. She is fully under control of her sickness. She isn't great at work and got her job via connections. She adores her son, but sex rules her life. Ironically, Richard, Adele's husband is doctor, he is a man whose interest is his work and family, not sex. How bad can it get? It was never good to start with, hence deterioration is expected. Richard is as miserable, just in other ways. Nothing in this book got me thinking : "Wow, that is amazing!...", hence two weak and bleak stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin (from Long Island, NY)

    Yes! I love this author! I will read anything she writes.. Her style, the way she strings the words together is beautiful & haunting. While reading i don't wonder where we're headed, or how long is left.. I'm just riveted. The only negative for me is that its over! I wish it was longer.. But after a few minutes, after my initial feelings of disappointment that there was no more, i began to realize why it ended where it did. Adele's compulsion and her relationships, as well as her husband's feeli Yes! I love this author! I will read anything she writes.. Her style, the way she strings the words together is beautiful & haunting. While reading i don't wonder where we're headed, or how long is left.. I'm just riveted. The only negative for me is that its over! I wish it was longer.. But after a few minutes, after my initial feelings of disappointment that there was no more, i began to realize why it ended where it did. Adele's compulsion and her relationships, as well as her husband's feelings & gut reactions towards her & her behaviors.. Lovely and repulsive at the same time. Man oh man.. Some author's have a good idea so they write a book, but imo Leila Slimoni has a gift.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I deeply enjoyed this reading. Difficult topic but written with style and elegance. It’s official: Ms Slimani, you have a new fan!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tooter

    3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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