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Summary

An extraordinary debut literary pause-resister with echoes of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.

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 will end in unspeakable tragedy. As her life crashes down around her, Anna must then discover where one must go when there is no going back....

©2015 Jill Alexander Essbaum (P)2015 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Critic reviews

“A tense novel about morality, fidelity and identity.” ( Elle Magazine)
“This slow-burning literary novel of marital disintegration will leave you in bits. It’s a bleak, but beautiful read, with echoes of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.” ( Glamour Magazine)
“It’s the book that will have everyone talking… The author spent unhappy years in Switzerland and the sense of alienation in the book rings true. By the end you might like Anna a little more – and you’ll certainly have a lot to think about.” ( Cosmo Magazine)
“I read this in one sitting, transfixed by this insightful and shocking portrait of a woman on the edge.” ( Woman & Home)
"To the steaminess of EL James’s erotic classic, it adds the marital dysfunction of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and the commuter neuroses of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. There won’t be a sun lounger or beach bag without it this summer.’ (Laura Freeman, Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Awful accents!

I enjoyed the book and the narrator was generally good but her accents are shocking! Almost worth a listen for her Scottish and Welsh accents alone - terrible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

perfect

Any additional comments?

A\wonderful book , which I am sure some readers will hate for the very reasons I loved it.Real people do not all have happy lives.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly compelling narrative, compellingly read

A powerful story, that moves inexorably to its inevitable, tragic conclusion, one entirely of Anna's own making, but still, I felt only compassion for her throughout. The reading is superb, emotionally pitch perfect. As a British listener I could have done without the American English, but that is a minor quibble.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tragic!

What other book might you compare Hausfrau to, and why?

The Yellow Wallpaper

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending of this book made me shout out and cry. I also had too deliver the ending to my Audible book club friend as she totally missed what happens.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Compelling but a bit depressing!

Interesting story which was well written and kept my attention better than a lot of audio books...however as it neared the end I felt it got a bit depressing for me!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Berkeley, United Kingdom
  • 22-06-15

Tragic

I so didn't like her from the beginning of the book and throughout. By the end, I was happy for her choice

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too many words

Nothing very much happens until near the end and everything was described in great detail. All the street names were mentioned every time the heroine set foot outside her house.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful