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HausfrauHausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

hausfrau is not light reading. If you are looking for something to really sink your teeth into and have to think while you are reading, this is the book for you.

Anna Benz is lost in the middle of her crowded life. She is an American living in Switzerland that can’t seem to grasp the language and ways of her adopted city. The only thing she seems to have mastered is the train system, in order to meet her various lovers. She doesn’t communicate well with her husband and is uninvolved with her children. She is content to leave them whenever possible with her austere mother-in-law. Other women try to befriend her, yet Anna seems unable to connect with other women. She shows up for her psychoanalysis appointments, but doesn’t fully participate in them.

This book was difficult for me to read at times. The prose is achingly beautiful, even when Anna is behaving in an ugly manner. I loved and hated her at different points. Her affairs are tawdry and careless, yet I wanted her to find love somewhere, anywhere. The character of Anna Benz definitely reminded me of the character of Anna Karenina and once I formed that image in my head, the parallels continued to jump out at me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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