The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Publisher:  Random House LLC
Release Date:  March 17, 2015
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
My rating:  2 Stars⭐️⭐️

About the Book: 
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.

Wanda's Thoughts:  Switzerland never felt like home to Anna Benz, a housewife and mother of three. She had been living in Switzerland, having arrived from America nine years earlier, and felt confined to a small area because she did not drive, not having a license. Her life consisted of using locomotives, or by the willingness of Bruno, her husband, or Bruno’s mother, Ursula, driving her to her destination. Anna was a language student and became sexually involved with Archie Sutherland, also a language student. Anna had a desire to be wanted, but she really couldn’t differentiate between need and want. She felt she was neither plain or pretty – just irrevocably average and mediocre.

And the story unfolds as this complex and desperate woman, ‘a good wife, mostly,’ searches for meaning to her life. The story is packed with graphic sex, infidelity, and betrayal. It was clear early on that this book and I were not meant to be. With very explicit sexual scenes and profanity, this book had no appeal to me. Most of the characters were shallow and I never felt any empathy or connection to them. The storyline was strange and dark, with a disturbing topic, and never pulled me in.

But ---- on a positive note – The author wrote in a meticulous and descriptive way – very lyrical.

My rating is 2 stars. I bought this book on impulse and obviously it was a mistake on my part.

About the Author:  Jill Alexander Essbaum's publications include the full-length collections Heaven, Harlot, and Necropolis, and a chapbook of sonnets, Oh Forbidden. Her poems have appeared in religious journals, hoity-toity journals, online journals, formalist journals, and erotic publications. She is obsessed with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, her five cats, puns, sex, Old Time Radio, and God. And: Words. An associate editor for the online journal Anti-, and a blogger for the Best American Poetry blog, she's presently at work on a novel vaguely based on the time she spent living in Zürich, Switzerland. She believes most firmly that wit trumps irony, clever beats disaffected, and, in all things, sincerity is key.