Hausfrau, desperately seeking – a review

HausfrauHausfrau is a novel coming to libraries very soon and it’s the first by the author Jill Alexander Essbaum, an acclaimed American poet

It’s been tipped for success and has also been likened to Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina meets Fifty Shades – make of that what you will!

“It’s an absolute fact: Swiss trains run on time,” it says at the start of the story. The hausfrau of the title is Anna, an expat American, who seems to be a passenger on the train and in life too.

Her life in the suburbs of Zurich with husband Bruno and their two sons is boring and echoes an earlier era as she doesn’t drive, earn a living or even have her own bank account.

Not everything is quite as it seems, because “Some women collected spoons. Anna  collected lovers.” Although she is “a good wife, mostly”, she begins an affair with another student in her German class, leaving her kids with their grandmother.  Her affairs (it’s not her first) are carried on with detachment and men are picked up at various places.

Then something bad happens and her already fragmented existence falls apart. Anna can’t create a meaningful life and it’s her faults and mistakes that involve us with the character.

A gripping story about someone coming to self knowledge and worth a read.