Hausfrau: A Novel

Hausfrau: A Novel

  • Publish Date: 2015-08-04
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Jill Alexander Essbaum
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A debut novel about Anna, a bored housewife who, like her Tolstoyan namesake, throws herself into a psychosexual journey of self-discovery and tragedy.O: The Oprah Magazine

Sexy and insightful, this gorgeously written novel opens a window into one womans desperate soul.People

Anna was a good wife, mostly. For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairs comes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning.

Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Brunoa bankerand their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zrich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna cant easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds its difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.

Intimate, intense, and written with the precision of a Swiss Army knife, Jill Alexander Essbaums debut novel is an unforgettable story of marriage, fidelity, sex, morality, and most especially self. Navigating the lines between lust and love, guilt and shame, excuses and reasons, Anna Benz is an electrifying heroine whose passions and choices readers will debate with recognition and fury. Her story reveals, with honesty and great beauty, how we create ourselves and how we lose ourselves and the sometimes disastrous choices we make to find ourselves.

Praise for Hausfrau

Elegant . . . There is much to admire in Essbaums intricately constructed, meticulously composed novel, including its virtuosic intercutting of past and present.Chicago Tribune

For a first novelist, Essbaum is extraordinary because she is a poet. Her language is meticulous and resonant and daring.NPRs Weekend Edition

Were in literary territory as familiar as Annas name, but Essbaum makes it fresh with sharp prose and psychological insight.San Francisco Chronicle

This marvelously quiet book is psychologically complex and deeply intimate. . . . One of the smartest novels in recent memory.The Dallas Morning News

Essbaums poignant, shocking debut novel rivets.Us Weekly

A powerful, lyrical novel . . . Hausfrau boasts taut pacing and melodrama, but also a fully realized heroine as love-hateable as Emma Bovary.The Huffington Post

Imagine Tom Perrottas American nowheresvilles swapped out for a tidy Zrich suburb, sprinkled liberally with sharp riffs on Swiss-German grammar and European hypocrisy.New York

From the Hardcover edition.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2015: You are quickly reminded while reading Hausfrau that Essbaum is first a poet. Her descriptionsfrom Anna's mundane trips through the market to her extracurricular erotic trystsare laced with poetic precision. Anna, an American, has found herself living in her Swiss husband's world of suburban Zurich. We travel with her as she fumbles to live up to all it means to be a good wife, mother, and daughter-in-law while she searches to understand something more and, maybe, somehow, to disrupt the everyday monotony. Flashbacks to the memories Anna allows us, along with poignant glimpses into her regular counseling sessions, are the only clues we are given to try to piece together what is truly going on inside Anna's mind. Where Hausfrau really catches you off guard is in the complete journey you find yourself haven taken at the end. I quickly found myself captivated and unable to step away from Annas every day and as I read the last sentence of the book I was haunted. My thoughts travelled back through the story - the realizations settled in an amazement to all that had happenedand hadn't. Essbaum, in her crafting of Hausfrau, executes a story that's telling is just as artful as the story told a quiet disruption that I still find myself thinking about weeks after reading. Penny Mann

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