Published by Random House on March 17, 2015
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Though Anna Benz has every reason to be happy, she struggles to find true connection as she drifts through her expatriate life in Zürich with her Swiss husband and three children. Hoping to find something to keep her afloat, Anna reaches out to a Jungian therapist, starts taking German lessons and begins a series of extramarital affairs as her life quickly falls apart.
A fast paced plot takes a backseat to incredible writing in Hausfrau, as the novel digs into the narrator’s past and present in an effort to make sense of her choices. Essbaum plays with language in wonderful ways, pulling Anna’s thoughts through a thesaurus of meanings and breaking them down to explain her emotions.
“This is a good thing I am doing, Anna said inside herself, though ‘good’ was hardly the right word. Anna knew this. What she meant was expedient. What she meant was convenient. What she meant was wrong in nearly every way but justifiable as it makes me feel better, and for so very long I have felt so very, very bad.”
Though Anna’s trajectory is somewhat predictable, Essbaum’s writing makes the journey with a flawed but recognizable character an intriguing and even enjoyable one.
If you need a few more twists and turns to enjoy a plot, but know you’re intrigued by Hausfrau‘s themes, The Affair may be just what you’re looking for. The show follows struggling writer Noah Solloway and waitress Alison Bailey who meet when Noah and his family arrive in the small town of Montauk for the summer. Told in separate narratives, which allows viewers to see the same events from both Noah and Allison’s perspectives, The Affair examines both the causes and the effects of the pair’s summer-long affair.
Even if you don’t have Showtime, the network offers a sneak peek of the first episode to get you hooked. Or if you just want to see Pacey Witter all grown up.