Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Hausfrau

Jill Alexander Essbaum

The trains of suburban Zurich define a way of life, so ordered, predictable, efficient. For an ex-pat who marries a Swiss, the implicit demand to conform is a massive psychological ask. Failure to do so carries the seeds of personality disintegration. Anna’s sexual neediness is clearly a pathological reaction to 'boredom'- a self-put-down that cannot hide the descending spiral. A tense read – Anna’s self- destruct button is always flashing.

Extract

In the darkness she traipsed the familiar path behind the house. She passed a rotting barn and the back units of an apartment complex. A motion-detecting light flashed on. The sudden spark of brightness startled her, as it always did. She looked across the sunflower field to the newer houses south of Loorenstrasse. Most were fully dark, but a window here and there was softly lit. 'Where am I going?' Anna had nowhere to go and no reason for the going. 'Everywhere I go is nowhere.' This was true. But her own ennui annoyed her and so she dismissed it.

Parallels
  • Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore
  • A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies by John Murray
  • Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear by Katharine Weber

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