The prize-winning author has received significant backlash online after publishing a coronavirus diary in French daily Le Monde.
Leila Slimani’s COVID-19 self-isolation diary in French newspaper Le Monde has caused uproar. The Goncourt prize winner published a tone deaf diary comparing her situation to Sleeping Beauty as the French economy plummets and citizens struggle to make ends meet.
“Through my bedroom window, I watched the dawn break over the hills. The icy grass, the lime trees on the branches whose first buds are appearing,” the “Lullaby” author wrote, describing her second home in the French countryside.
Slimani left Paris with her two children on March 13 to spend the COVID-19 lockdown in her second home in the French countryside. In the controversial article, Slimani told readers she had explained the quarantine to her children as being “a bit like Sleeping Beauty.”
The tone deaf article received significant backlash. Journalist Felix Lemaitre slammed Slimani in Brain magazine, saying her article is a perfect example of “class privilege.”
French-Belgian author Diane Ducret lashed out at Slimani in an article for Marianne, saying the Moroccan novelist is in a “parallel universe.”
Ducret compared Slimani to Marie Antoinette. The diary in Le Monde “could not have been further from the fear and anguish of the [French] people,” she wrote.
“From my window you cannot see the sky. The building opposite mine is dirty, the empty streets fill me with roaring anxieties. Being stripped by a virus in my 30s, dying alone, perhaps in a two room apartment,” Ducret wrote as a realistic comparison to Slimani’s piece.
Though less picturesque than Slimani’s diary, “it would have been more representative of what we are experiencing,” argued Ducret.
The backlash over Slimani’s idyllic COVID-19 diary comes as the number of confirmed cases in France rises to 103,573. Over 15,000 people have died after contracting the virus, according to official statistics released by France’s Ministry of Health.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday, April 14 that the country’s economy is set to shrink by 8% as the health and economic crisis deepens.
France’s 67 million citizens have been on lockdown since March 17 and there is currently no end in sight. The government is doing all it can to bail out the failing economy, but as the number of cases continues to rise and economic projections continue to fall, Leila Slimani’s fairytale lifestyle gets further and further away from the reality the French population is living.