Jill Alexander Essbaum

3.23 based on 14120 ratings & 2528 reviews on
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26 March 2015
336 pages

Haunting and elegant, Hausfrau is the exceptional debut novel from the prize-winning American poet, Jill Alexander Essbaum.

Anna was a good wife, mostly . . .

Anna Benz lives in comfort and affluence with her husband and three young children in Dietlikon, a picture-perfect suburb of Zurich. Anna, an American expat, has chosen this life far from home; but, despite its tranquility and order, inside she is falling apart.

Feeling adrift and unable to connect with her husband or his family; with the fellow expatriates who try to befriend her; or even, increasingly, her own thoughts and emotions, Anna attempts to assert her agency in the only way that makes sense to her: by engaging in short-lived but intense sexual affairs.

But adultery, too, has its own morality, and when Anna finds herself crossing a line, she will set off a terrible chain of events that ends in unspeakable tragedy. As her life crashes down around her, Anna must then discover where one must go when there is no going back . . .

Haunting . . . Beautifully written, the ennui of its Anna Karenina-esque heroine's deceptively perfect life as a Swiss housewife seeps from every page

Best books of 2015, Harper’s Bazaar

Hausfrau may be the Fifty Shades of literary fiction . . . This debut brilliantly chronicles a woman's
life falling apart . . . The novel's mood is, like Anna's, dreamy and dissociated . . . It is a brilliantly sustained examination of self-induced loneliness and pathological alienation.

The Times

It's the book that will have everyone talking . . .