Hausfrau is a book by Jill Alexander Essbaum that I read recently so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone as the saying goes and use H for a review post.
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 . . .
This is the first time I’ve included a gif image within a blog post but this is totally justified because man this book is hot stuff! There’s your warning because this book should come with an 18 rating!
Because of her actions and confrontation with her husband, Bruno, Anna finds herself feeling bereft for her life and everything in it, wandering the city with nothing to do and nowhere to go but reflect and re-group; but does she?
“A secret’s safest hiding place is in the open.”
I couldn’t figure out if she was in love with her husband, or whether she just liked the thrill of the game but Anna seemed to be seriously unhinged.
“Love’s a sentence, Anna thought. A death sentence.”
I believe she’s bored and she’s troubled; she’s seeing a psychiatrist and seems to have this obsession with sex and affairs and she never seems totally with it. Because of her lifestyle and her choices, I didn’t really like her character. At points in the book I felt sorry for her, I thought that she was easily manipulated and controlled by her husband and her doctor.
“Think of a bucket Anna. Your heart is a bucket with a hole in the bottom of it. It leaks. You cannot keep it full.”
The plot flips all over the place within the chapters that at times I found confusing as I had to work out who was narrating and there’s a series of questions interspersed randomly from the psychiatrist. However, the narrative has this feel of oldy wordy language that I liked and it wasn’t surprising to learn that the author is a poet as parts of her writing stir real emotion. I enjoyed the book for the writing, but not really for its story and its content.
“Synchronicity often masquerades as coincidence.”
I must admit this book wasn’t really for me. I’m not really into books quite this sexually explicit, I don’t mind the implication but I don’t need it all spelt out for me.
The ending is undefinitive and as a reader I was left wondering what happens next, does she go back or throw herself under a train? I get the comparison to Anna Karenina because of the affairs and the comparable relationship situation but not Gone Girl…can anyone help me out here?
Overall, not really for me but if you loved Fifty Shades of Grey but crucified the writing then read this because you’ll be in for a treat; albeit a right filthy treat in places.
Many thanks to the publisher for approving me for an advanced copy via Netgalley.
Connect with the author Jill Alexander Essbaum