Desperate Hausfrau

In this debut novel by poet Jill Alexander Essbaum, modern issues surrounding the tragedy of the female condition are explored through character Anna Benz, an American expatriate living with her Swiss husband and children in the town of Dietlikon. Anna has grown bored, to say the least, with her role as homemaker to her edgy and demanding husband. As a distraction, she enrolls in German lessons at the recommendation of her Jungian psychiatrist that leads her to pursuing an affair with a Scottish whiskey distiller from her class. As Anna slips further and further away from her duties at home in pursuit of her temporary desires she begins to realize that some mistakes cannot remain hidden and without consequences. Essbaum’s background in poetry is reflected in the novel’s exquisite language, and the book reads like a modern-day Anna Karenina.


An expatriate in Switzerland attempts to fill an emotional void in her life by participating in German classes, Jungian psychiatry, and a series of affairs.