Jill Alexander Essbaum || Hausfrau

I had already written some lines on Hausfrau but had not yet had the possibility to copy the text into my blog. Some days passed and  I noticed that I started thinking differently about what I had said. Not so much about Hausfrau as about the main character, housewife Anna. I felt extremely annoyed by Anna from the start: she is passive, everything just happens to her and she cannot prevent it. So she starts learning German after having lived in Switzerland for some ten years, she does not have her own bank account let alone a job, her child is the result of an affair and at the moment of writing she has two lovers. She annoyed me and I could not stand her justifying her behaviour by referring to predestination: she was destined to be passive and have things happen to her. Only towards the end of the novel Essbaum in a single cursorily sentence explains the possible cause of her behaviour: Anna has been the victim of extreme bullying at high school. I suspect that the Anna as created by Essbaum is suffering from severe depression, which explains haar passive behaviour. Essbaum has made Anna this way: a depressed housewife who gets unto your nerves. I should blame Essbaum for that, not Anna. Just as I must blame Essbaum for using the most terrible cliche for bringing the novel to a catharsis: I was just waiting for something to happen to one of the children whilst Anna was in bed with one of her lovers. And yes, this is what happened incluiding the 40-ish missed calls. Not exactly an original way of speeding things up. At the end of the novel Anna’s fate bears a definite resemblance to that of her Russian namesake: ‘search – replace Russian steam train by Swiss sprinter’. Do I recommend Hausfrau? Yes, if Anna Karenina or madame Bovary are your alltime favourite literary heroines; no if these ladies did not exactly entice you.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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