In Hausfrau, Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband Bruno and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. 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 into with an ease that surprises even her. 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’s no going back. – GoodReads
I have to admit that I was drawn in by this book from the first sentence: “Anna was a good wife, mostly.” From start to finish, this novel was sensual, incredibly sad, realistically told and very raw. Through Anna’s psychology sessions, her visits to her German classes and her day to day excursions (many sexual), Jill Alexander Essbaum gives us a glimpse into a woman who is literally unravelling at the seams. Readers are quick to call her an unlikeable character but I think Essbaum artistically develops her in such a way that it becomes a little more difficult to simply slide her into that column and call it a day. I think there is something about Anna that all women can relate to, even if only in a small way. In the end, I was left contemplating Anna’s life and to be honest, was a little haunted by her story and confused if I really did in fact “enjoy” the book. But what I knew, without a doubt, was the skill at which it was told by Essbaum. She is a talented writer and I am happy to call this an Inspired Read because despite its, dare I say, darker content, it was a story rich in characterization and gorgeous poetic like prose. And the last line is absolutely unforgettable.
Have you read it?? Let me know your thoughts!!