Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Format: eGalley

Pages: 336

Series: NA

Source: NetGalley

Genres: General Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher: Random House

Publication date: March 24, 2015

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. Thanks to Random House for the book.

First impression

So many people were talking about this one, so when I saw it on NetGally (and also look at the cover, so gorgeous) I immediately asked for it. Jill Alexander Essbaum has a very captivating style that makes you want to keep reading; makes you want to know what happens next. In that sense, the book was great. The plot was interesting too as well as the setting. But (and you knew there was a but coming) I did not enjoy the main character one bit. I am perfectly ok with unlikable characters, Gone Girl being a perfect example of this, where both Nick and Amy are completely unlikable, but they are enjoyable. I found myself wanting the story to be told from someone else’s perspective, other than Anna’s and that’s what made this a 3/5 book for me.

Final thoughts

Anna Benz is a housewife (a Hausfrau) in Switzerland. She has the “perfect” life, a handsome and successful husband, 3 loving, healthy, beautiful kids, a house…but she is bored. She hasn’t adapted to her new environment, and has fallen in a tedious routine, that she tries to break by going to German classes (suggested by her therapist). But is not good. The only thing that seems to take Anna out of her stupor is lovers: she collects lovers.

The writing in this novel is simple beautiful and enticing. That is what kept me going. The author builds a rhythm that grabs you and takes all along, wanting to know more, walking through the disorganized thoughts of Anna’s head. As you read, you find yourself in the busy days in Zurich, in the train, in her walks. The building of the environment is so well done.

But then I just couldn’t enjoy Anna. Is not that she is unlikable (she is, but that is not the problem) or that she seems sad and selfish most of the time. No, a character doesn’t have to upbeat or even likable for me to enjoy the reading. It was just that, I could not enjoy getting in Anna’s skin. I would found myself jumping to paragraphs where other were being depicted, or even the angle was posed on the situation itself, but no on Anna.

I can definitely see myself reading more by the author, again, she has a wonderful narrative. I would recommend this one to several of my friends actually, there is something beyond Anna that makes me want other people around me to read it so I can discuss it even more. 

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