Hausfrau is one of those books that is really well written but definitely not to be read when you are looking to be cheered up. Anna is an American house wife living in Switzerland with her Swiss husband Bruno, and their 3 kids. Her life is boring to her and she has never really made friends or even attempted to immerse herself in the Swiss culture. We get to know her through visits to her psychiatrist and her narratives on her own life.
When we meet Anna, upon the advice of her psychiatrist she is taking German lessons. She is hoping that it will help Anna to assimilate into Swiss life. She is having an affair with a classmate but that is nothing new to Anna. She has many affairs. Her affairs and lies spiral out of control eventually leading her to confront her own life.
It's hard to believe this is Essbaum's first novel. It is poetic and beautiful yet somber. I loved getting to know Anna so intimately through her suffering and sadness. Many times I wanted to yell at Anna, tell her to leave Bruno if she was unhappy. But I think Anna would have been miserable no matter who she were with and where she was living. The end of the book made me cry and I am not even sure that I have the ending right. (When or if you read it you will understand what I mean by that statement.) I'd prefer it had not ended the way it did but was there really any other way for Anna?
I'm not sure I would have picked this up for myself to read but I am certainly glad I won this copy. I definitely recommend it.