haus·frau \haus-frau\ n 1: Origin: German.
Housewife, homemaker. 2: A married woman. 3: A novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Anna was a good wife, mostly.
Anna Benz, an American ...more
A well-written novel about a depressive, narcissistic American expat in Zurich which I can't say I really enjoyed. It has been compared to Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina, presumably because the central character (also an Anna) feels trapped in an unfulfilling marriage and because it is obviously building to a grand tragic climax. But to me the voice is positioned in a much more consciously American tradition; actually Anna reminds me of no one so much as Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar, which ...more
The last sentence of this book is still ringing in my head. I cannot tell you what a delight and challenge it was to read. It’s no surprise that Essbaum is first a poet, second a novelist. This book was gripping, extremely sensual, raw and biting, and incredibly sad. That being said, it’s probably one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Outwardly, Anna seems like a per ...more
Yes, Anna thought. Adultery's a blast.
It wasn't until page 292 of this 320 page book that I realized that this was (view spoiler)[a retelling of Anna Karenina. (hide spoiler)] Well done, Essbaum.
That's one of the few compliments I can give this book.
In general, it was a horrible book - depressing and a waste of time.
Anna is an expat. An American who married a Swiss and now lives in Switzerland with her husband and three children. She has a series of extramarital affair ...more
Doesn't it sound grand? I mean, maybe not grand, but interesting, at least. I confess I have a fascination with books that deal with relationships and monogamy and all the complexities therein. That's why I read John Updike, who had what one might call an unhealthy obsession with adultery, its trappings and its failings. That's why I picked up this book, too. ...more
Anna B ...more
So, if I’m right, this is the story of Anna the housewife. She lives in Zurich with her banker husband and three children. She is natively American, but followed her husband when he returned home, after he told her, “I think I want to marry y ...more
No doubt about it, Jill Alexander Essbaum took a risk with Hausfrau. The protagonist is a 37-year-old woman who engages in a series of affairs; as unlikable main characters go, the titular hausfrau (housewife), Anna, is up there. Some initial buzz dubbed Hausfrau something along the lines of Madame Bovary meets Fifty Shades of Grey, but unfortunately, readers looking for a true cross between these will need to keep searching. What’s here is depressing at the same time it’s hyper ...more
Anna Benz is one of those women. From the deceptively simple and innocuous book title and cover comes a complicated tale of a deeply unhappy woman who is a curious mix of apathy and passion, passivity and impulsiveness, self destructiveness and self preservation. She alternates between startling insightful observations about herself and her situation and an incred ...more
That morning’s German lesson left Anna pensive. The German language, like a woman, has moods. On occasion they are conditional, imperative, indicative, subjunctive. Hypothetical, demanding, factual, wishful. Wistful, bossy, of blunted affect, solicitous. Longing, officious, anhedonic, pleading. Anna tried to make a list of every mood she’d ever been in but ran out of words before even half her feelings were named.
This is a curious insight into Anna Benz, because the eponymous Hausfrau seems ...more
Anna is an American woman in Switzerland, with a somewhat aloof and at times cruel Swiss husband and three children. She's lived the Swiss life for years but still feels like an outcast - she doesn't know the language, has few friends, doesn't pa ...more
Why do I begin this review with a look at Emma and Anna? Largely because Anna Benz, a displaced American woman living in a Zuri ...more
It seems that the author wanted to write this, her first novel, though she wasn’t sure. But then she did write it, but did not love her characters, but in a way, because she wrote it, she wanted us to love it, and that was like her loving them enough to write it. ...more
Well, I've certainly got Hausfrau out of my system, (for good) and have to say, I really did not care for this story of a "haphazardly moral" dysfunctional housewife who has "descriptive" sex with anyone of the male persuasion who passes her way. Anna is one sick (and sad) woman, I grant you that, and how did the author put it......."She's cheating on the man she's cheating on her husband with." Good Lord!
Anyway, I was pretty much bored with the whole shebang until about three quarters...more
The title could have been 'The Glass Castle'. That's how American expat Anna Benz insulated and isolated herself from her new life in Switzerland. She observed everything around her but never participated in the new life she and Bruno created for their nuclear family of five. Anna and Bruno had three children and lived a comfortable life with Bruno the banker providing for her and the children. She was a stay-at-home mom. The German efficiency and disciplined society, even the trains are exactly ...more
"Her relationship with sex was a convoluted partnership that rose from both passivity and as unassailable desire to be distracted. And wanted. She wanted to be wanted."
Anna is lonely, bored, & unsatisfied ....living in a foreign country with her husband and three children. She does not drive, relying on public transportation or from her mother-in-law, who lives near by. Her husband Bruno is in the Banking bu ...more
The story is very unputdownable. The first line, "Anna was a good wife, mostly," hooked me in and I wanted to know more about her. Anna married a Swiss man and is living an isolated life in Switzerland. She is depressed and isolated, part ...more
The Hook - Hausfrau promised an unlikable character and it delivered.
The Line – ”Anna was a good wife, mostly”
immediately I wanted to know what that meant.
The Sinker – Hausfrau is one of those books that causes passionate differences in opinion, you either love it or you hate it. It wasn’t clear to me where I stood until I had read over half the book. There are many that will not agree with me but no apologies here. I really liked Essbaum’s debut in the end.
Anna Benz, the mostly good wife, ...more
Oh my goodness I soooo thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn’t wait to get back to it each time I got pulled away by life’s silly demands like mealtime, work, and sleep! Told through the voice of Anna Benz, sometimes during her sessions with her psychiatrist Dr. Messerli, the story moves back and forth between past to present, at times with confusing fluidity, but so cleverly crafted and addictively irresistible that I felt I was residing inside Anna’s head, an extension of her thou ...more
noun, plural hausfraus, hausfrauen [hous-frou-uh n]
1. a housewife.
Origin: German, from Haus house + Frau woman, wife
Jill Alexander Essbaum's Hausfrau gives readers a snapshot of an American woman's life, Anna, over the course of a few years while living in Zurich, Switzerland with her husband and children. Actually, it's more a snapshot of her mood and how it influences her overall behavior (FYI: there is a notable amount of sexual content and dialogue). In my opinion, there ...more
American expat Anna Benz has no cause to complain about life. Her banker husband Bruno provides for her needs and she has three beloved children. Still, Anna has never felt at home despite nine years in Switzerland. She is virtually friendless and can hardly communicate ...more
Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com ...more
About the only thing I really like ...more
Contained in the book: Death, Suicide, Adultery, Hot sex, Bored sex, Jungian Therapy, Wasted Life, Marital Dysfunction, Depression, Things about Zurich, Puns, Friendship (or the lack thereof), Existence of God, Predestination.
Every now and then, you hear of a woman (and I'm going to talk about my view of just women here more than men) who seems happy, is married to a good man, is raising good kids, going to church every week, etc., and then, all of a sudden, ...more
Anna then, lives in Zurich with her husband (who I can’t say I liked much either) and her children…she is unhappy although for what reason she can’t quite fathom, and embarks upon a series of affairs, makes a new friend, goes to a therapist and slides from one m ...more
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