Author(s): Jill Alexander Essbaum
Anna Benz lives in comfort and affluence with her husband and three young children in Dietlikon, a picture-perfect suburb of Zurich. Anna, an American expat, has chosen this life far from home; but, despite its tranquility and order, inside she is falling apart. Feeling adrift and unable to connect with her husband or his family; with the fellow expatriates who try to befriend her; or even, increasingly, her own thoughts and emotions, Anna attempts to assert her agency in the only way that makes sense to her: by engaging in short-lived but intense sexual affairs. But adultery, too, has its own morality, and when Anna finds herself crossing a line, she will set off a terrible chain of events that ends in unspeakable tragedy. As her life crashes down around her, Anna must then discover where one must go when there is no going back ...
An extraordinary debut literary page-turner with echoes of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina
With an elegance, precision and surehandedness that recalls Marguerite Duras's The Lover and Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac, Jill Alexander Essbaum gives us this exquisite tale of an expatriate American wife living in Switzerland and her sexual and psychic unraveling. Hausfrau stuns with its confidence and severe beauty, its cascading insights into the uses of erotic life and the nature of secrets, the urgency of compulsion and the difficulty of freedom. A rare and remarkable debut. Janet Fitch, bestselling author of White Oleander
Jill Alexander Essbaum is the author of several collections of poetry. Her work has twice appeared in The Best American Poetry, as well as its sister anthology, The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present. A winner of the Bakeless Poetry Prize and recipient of two NEA literature fellowships, Essbaum is a member of the core faculty of the Low Residency MFA at the University of California, Riverside, where she teaches poetry. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas. This is her first novel.