×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 883


Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

 

 

 

 Hausfrau is sure to evoke strong reactions. Its publisher, Random House, is extoling it as "a literary 50 Shades of Grey." It  has sold publishing rights in 14 international markets and ordered a third printing.

The book is a modern re-telling of Anna Karenina. In Hausfrau, Anna is an American living in Switzerland with her austere and handsome Swiss husband, mother-in-law, and three young children. Her lack of language skills and her own aloofness contribute to her ongoing sense of alienation. Yet, the main characteristic of our protagonist is her passivity.

As the novel progresses, we realize that Anna lacks all sense of direction. She has no moral core. Adultery, in the form of casual sex, is her escape from boredom and her acquiescence to a need to be desired.

Essbaum is a poet and her novel's language substantiates this. Her characters are well-drawn. Yet the difficulty in loving this book rests in Anna's unlikeability. We learn, through Anna's sessions with her psychoanalist, that she lost both her parents at a critical age. She felt unloved by others who cared for her. This may have contributed to her need to be dominated by men. However, Anna is so self-absorbed and uncaring of others that the reader finds it hard to understand her.

Hausfrau is definitely a well-written book with lots of explicit sex scenes. Anna is a complicated character, the subject of which might ignite heated debate at a book club. As Anna Russell wrote in The Wall Street Journal: "(Hausfrau) is guarenteed to be a hit. Nothing sells better than a large group of people complaining about the content...Now we just want to see what the fuss is about."

Check Our Catalog

 
Comments List

Archive posts

Collapse all

Excerpts is the library newsletter and comes out every three months. It is mailed to every Glencoe resident. Copies of the newsletter are available online (below) and at the library. Please be sure to check the library calendar for program updates.

2019 Issues

June 2019

March 2019

2018 Issues

December 2018

September 2018

March 2018

June 2018

2017 Issues

December 2017

March 2017

June 2017

September 2017

2016 Issues

December 2016

September 2016

March 2016

June 2016

2015 Issues

December 2015
September 2015
June 2015

March 2015

2014 Issues
December 2014
September 2014
June 2014
March 2014

2013 Issues
December 2013
September 2013
June 2013
March 2013

2012 Issues
December 2012
September 2012
June 2012
March 2012

2011 Issues
December 2011
September 2011
June 2011
March 2011

2010 Issues
December 2010
September 2010
June 2010
March 2010

2009 Issues
December 2009
September 2009
June 2009
March 2009

2008 Issues
December 2008