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Het zwart en het zilver

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 ratings  ·  445 reviews
Als Nora tijdens de laatste maanden van haar zwangerschap door medische complicaties aan bed gekluisterd raakt, nemen zij en haar man Signora A. in dienst om Nora te verzorgen en hen te helpen met het huishouden. Na de geboorte van hun zoontje blijft Signora A. als kinderjuf voor hen werken, maar ze is veel meer dan alleen een oppas of huishoudster. Ze vangt al hun onzeker ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 9th 2014 by De Bezige Bij (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  3,309 ratings  ·  445 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, although without the tragic, violent ending. In both novels, a woman who is a nanny, maid and cook is wonderful in every way. The nanny makes herself indispensable to a busy two-career young couple. And because the nanny herself has no children or close family connections her employers’ child and their way of life becomes indispensable to her life.

The nanny in Like Family is a 68-year old widow. The husband and wif
Diane S ☔
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 They called her Mrs. A or Babette, never her real first name. She came into their lives when she was really needed, a widow that took care of his wife when she was confined to bed rest with their first child. She stayed and became nanny, cook, confidante and managed their lives with supreme efficiency. After eight years she came down with a serious illness and could no longer work.

A quiet, simple novel about a woman who becomes indispensable in the lives of this family. a woman who became a
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's only right to be extra strict upon these tight little novellas that must, above all, pack a significant wallop in such a small, tidy package. If not... why do they EVEN exist, am I right?

& I tried to resist the smallness & frailness of this one. This... novelette. But it brought about stuff that had been stuck in the undertow of feeling, it made me truly meditate on the life and death of loved ones and the toll it takes on a single person. It's very personal (again, the protagonist is a wea
Elyse  Walters
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Of the three of us, Emmanuel is the only one who has not yet learned that nothing
lasts forever when it comes to human relationships".

Mrs. A had been working for a young couple and their only child, for eight years, when one day she calls and quits -says she is exhausted.

Emmanuel, their son, doesn't understand. He wants to know when his 'Babette' is coming back. Nora and her physicist husband ( the nameless narrator), are also coming unplugged - worried - anxious-flustered -- they call Mrs. A
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I get the impression that both books I've read by Paolo Giordano are deeply linked to the author's actual life. The Solitude of Prime Numbers has two characters that bond because of their love for math, and in this novel the husband/father central character is a physicist, just as the author is. I think that made this novel feel quite small, as if maybe it was too close to home, and couldn't be extended easily beyond that world.

At the same time, small can really work, and I would encourage anyo
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paolo Giordano – a 32-year-old Italian physicist – creates portraits of wounded individuals who yearn to bond through companionship yet often find solitude more comforting. I was haunted by them and eager to read his third book, Like Family. I was not disappointed.

When read quickly – and at 146 pages, it can easily be read in one sitting – Like Family at first appears like any other cancer story. A young couple – an unnamed narrator, a physicist who may or may not be partially based on the autho
Bonnie Brody
I was first introduced to the writing of Palo Giordano when I read 'The Solitude of Prime Numbers'. Though I enjoyed it, I felt it rather cold and disconnected from its emotional core. After reading 'Like Family' I have to think that this is a style or perhaps a thematic element of the author's writing.

'Like Family' is a very short book, almost a novella, that is about a woman who comes into the lives of young couple to help the wife out through a difficult pregnancy. The woman who comes to help
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
Like Family is a beautifully written, complex but uncomplicated, story of a family and their beloved nanny. We understand from the outset that Mrs. A has died of cancer. The focus of this book is not a long, drawn-out account of her death, but rather the story of how her life has influenced the family she cared for. The characters are realistically drawn, well-developed, and all likable even in their eccentricities . I appreciated the emotional honesty and lack of gratuitous melodrama.

Thank to
Karly Drake
Jan 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Originally reviewed @

This author wrote an exquisitely beautiful book on love and family thereupon demonstrating throughout that random people who come into your life can become family. Likewise, exhibiting how love can change a person's feelings and behavior. Written from the viewpoint of Giordano inspired by his own personal experiences with his own Mrs. A despite the fact this book is considered a work of fiction. Mrs. A came into this family's lives when Do
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look at the process of losing friends and family.
*3.5 Stars*

At a mere 146 pages, this book has a powerful message about life, love and those you call family. Although none of the characters endeared themselves to me, I did feel for them when tragedy strikes and they must learn the importance of living in the moment.

The narrator of the story is a physicist who struggles to focus on anything but his work. After marrying, he and his wife Nora, hire a woman who they endearingly call Babette or Mrs. A to nurse Nora after her pregnancy and then st
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction, short
3.5 stars: Paolo Giordano is a fabulous writer. In this, very short novel, he captures a young family struggling to function. Giordano’s gift is illuminating character’s feelings: their unsaid thoughts.

At the opening of the story, the reader learns that Mrs. A, the housekeeper/nanny dies of cancer. The narrator (husband) reminisces the family’s life with Mrs. A. In a short (146 pages) story, we learn of the significant role Mrs. A plays in the marriage. Anyone who is married will see themselves
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had read some very good reviews of this book. Perhaps others might get more from it than I would. The author has written some highly acclaimed books, that I have not read before. The author studied physics at the University of Turin and holds a PhD in theoretical particle physics. The authors first language is Italian and this book was translated as well, however I don't think anything was perhaps lost in translation. This book was fairly short, more like a novella. It involves a family who hi ...more
Jacoline Maes
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. One of those books that are just perfect the way they are, I wouldn't want to change a thing. I didn't expect this much from a book this small, but this one proves size doesn't matter. I read his other book The solitude of prime numbers a long time ago and loved it then, but I was scared that maybe after all those years I would be disappointed if I re-read it or picked up another book by the same author. Luckily this wasn't the case and I think it's safe to say that I will most certai ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I seem to have a penchant for reading depressing books lately.

They have a nanny. She gets cancer. She dies. Not necessarily in that order.

I knew the plot from the jacket but I expected . . .I don't know. . .more? I didn't really get to see a lot of how Mrs. A lived, but a lot of how she died.

And the main couple. Their relationship seemed a bit off somehow. Most intriguing was Mrs. A's long dead husband. Too bad he couldn't be in the book more. Alive.
♥ Ibrahim ♥

The author is a talented writer, has such a sharp mind, but the spirit with which he writes is very sad and depressing. I couldn't finish the book. By the time, I reached p. 65, I said no more. No more of the minute details lives of cancer patients, and let them have their privacy.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Review soon
Barbara H
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This wafer-thin book, more like a novella, was a fairly entertaining read. It involved a husband, wife, their little son and their devoted housekeeper, Mrs. A. . Much of the story involved her tender ministrations to this family, as if they were her cherished possessions. It is not a spoiler to divulge the fact that this lady developed cancer. The author capably portrayed the progress of her illness and the effects upon her household. Although this is simple in its description, the writing is te ...more
This story is scarcely more than novella length and so skillfully written that I can only guess it loses nothing in its translation from the original Italian.

A young, dual-career couple living in Turin, Italy are expecting their first child. When the wife is put on complete bed rest the husband hires a widowed housekeeper (Mrs. A.) to run their small household and serve as company for his wife. When the child, a boy named Emanuele is born, the woman stays on and serves the couple in the capacity
If Paolo Giordano actually means his characters are Like Family, it's a sad little family in his latest novel. It's a novel that leaves readers with more questions than answers.

The unnamed narrator and his wife, Nora, have been married ten years. For most of those years, Mrs. A has been with them. She came as a companion when Nora was bedridden with her pregnancy, and then stayed as on as nanny for their son, Emanuele. The family grew dependent on Mrs. A for everything. In fact, who knows if the
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
don't let the length of this book fool you. it definitely packed a punch.
a woman who had been the caregiver/nanny of a somewhat well to do family suddenly is unable to care for them anymore and they begin to realize what an impact she has had on their lives.

it's bittersweet, and very real. the characters seemed completely authentic and honest, and unashamedly so, which I loved. it was part sweet, part pathetic that the parents of this child needed this woman so much, perhaps even a lot more th
Jessica Jeffers
A strong 3.5 A brief account of the effects that the death of a beloved nanny had on the couple that employed her and their young son. According to the foreword, it's loosely autobiographical which serves to make it a little more (bitter)sweet, but it didn't have enough meat to really stick with me.

One pet peeve: I sometimes hated the omniscient first-person narrator who would often describe Mrs. A's thoughts and feelings in a scene in which he was not present. Just let the woman tell her own d
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not nearly as good as his other two books. This reads like some random musings about private memories that don't really make it into a plot or any kind of relatable story. It's also very sad, like the depressing kind of sad. The idea is fairly good, but seems like the author forgot to work his diary into a novel.
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-this-year
A beautifully told story about a young family's relationship with their housekeeper/nanny who they've nicknamed Babette. One day Babette calls to tell them she's no longer coming to work because she's 'tired'. The truth however is that she's terminally ill, thus forcing the family to face losing the woman who is, to them, like family.
This was a strange book to me-not sure of its message. Maybe, as the author states in the intro, just an homage to a woman who was important in his life? I do think Giordano did a great job of examining the intricacies of family relationships.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This is a novella-length family drama about the bonding between a family and their housekeeper/nanny--an intimate and ultimately sweet look at relationships, told from a husband's point of view.
Sophie U
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant little novella. Nice writing, clean characters, solid emotional core. A well structured piece, but I could have stayed in the world a little longer.
Kasa Cotugno
I've only read one other book by Paolo Giodano, the beautiful Solitude of Primary Numbers, which I have vague memory of since it was over 5 years ago and I failed to write a review. What I do remember is its quality, which it shares with this book, of an economy of language and length, resulting in a distillation of emotion and human connection. In this case, it is a family, brought together through the care of a woman originally hired as a nanny who becomes much more than that to the three. Bea ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, literature, 2014
After finishing it, I could only sigh how beautiful this book is. The end is very, very moving, the style of writing painfully beautiful. Giordano describes perfectly the emptiness that befalls you after losing someone or something so dear and took for granted so easily. It left me in complete silence...
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Fresh*Reads: Narrator & Thoughts So Far 2 6 Jul 12, 2016 01:56PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Duplicate Book - Like Family 3 118 Nov 30, 2015 06:09AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Paolo Giordano is a professional physicist and is currently working on a doctorate in particle physics. The Solitude of Prime Numbers, his first novel, took Italy by storm where it has sold over a million copies. It is being translated into twenty languages and has sold all

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“The archaeologists who will come and blow away the ashes from our house will unearth only the metal parts of the sophisticated furnishings, and it will take them some time to reconstruct their original beauty; they will find very few objects and almost no embellishments, not even in Emanuele's room, which from year to year is being emptied of toys and colors, because everything that's important to him is now found in the circuits of a tablet. I wonder what would suggest to them that a couple and then a family had lived in those rooms and that they were happy together, at least for long stretches of time.” 3 likes
“Then Emanuele grew up, more quickly than we thought, and we found ourselves wanting him to grow up fast, not realizing that we would soon miss him as a little child. He was never quick enough, he was never responsible enough, his reasoning was never sufficiently thought out. Only with Mrs. A. did he allow himself to regress to the condition of the small child he still felt he was. She held him in her arms, rocking him for hours; she let him be capricious and repetitive in his expressions, and she attended to those things we thought he should already be doing on his own. (Yet didn’t Nora and I behave the same way with her, abandoning ourselves to her care?)” 0 likes
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