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Publisher's 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

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  • Overall
  • Miss
  • 04-26-15

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

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  • PAUL C.
  • 09-15-16

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.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-16

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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  • Amanda
  • 10-28-15

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.

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  • Hayley
  • 08-10-15

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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  • Karen
  • 06-22-15

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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  • Jyam
  • 04-29-15

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

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  • Kerrie
  • 04-06-15

Not Anna Karenina

I don't know what to think of this book. I persevered to the end but the main character was just so depressing, so immoral, so mixed up that I wanted to shake her. There was nothing to lighten the depressive nature of this novel ... no side storylines that take you away from the miserable life this woman leads. Billed as a mixture of Anna K and Madame Bovary .... it even lacked the love/infatuation those two heroines had for the men that ultimately led to their destruction. The love interest of this Anna was long gone. On the plus side, the use of the German language classes to highlight some of her feelings was clever but the constant whining about everything in her life and then dealing with it the way she does was just pathetic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 09-03-15

so-so

wasn't enthralled by the book but finished it because I was curious about the ending. somehow the ending seemed like too simple a solution to the problems.

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  • Chloe
  • 05-25-15

Didn't want to turn it off

Very good book, read perfectly! Wasn't sure what to expect however I really enjoyed it! Ending was pretty good too

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  • Lucinda
  • 05-20-15

A Lost Soul in Zurich

Is this a case of Anna finds trouble or trouble finds her???
For a seemingly forgettable housewife blending into the background of Zurich expat housewife life, Anna sure seems to attract a lot of male attention. And do so much with it. Which makes her life filled with normally rather bland domestic commitments on the surface suddenly become rather intruiging and fascinating. An excellent study of someone living a double life and very quietly screaming out for help.