source: free review copy courtesy of Library Thing
author: Jill Alexander Essbaum
published: ARC March 24, 2015
first line: Anna was a good wife, mostly.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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, Bruno—a banker—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 with an ease that surprises even her.
But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s 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.
Author Jill Alexander Essbaum is a new to me author and I am glad I discovered her work. She is a poet which does not surprise me as Hausfrau reads like poetry at times, the narrative flows beautifully.
At the heart of this emotional and sad story is Anna, a thirty-something married mother of three who is her own worst enemy in many ways. I read Hausfrau intermittently over the course of about two weeks. I could not sit and read for too long at a time. It was a somber book and Anna’s sadness just flows throughout these pages.