One of my favorite things about being a part of a book club is that I am forced to step outside my literary comfort zone. Because of my book club, I have picked up books that I would normally never think of reading. Book club also moves low priority books (books on my list but somehow are continuously pushed farther and farther down as other books grab my attention) to the top of the list. Sometimes these books end up being among the best stories I’ve read. Others, I just can’t get into. Then, there are the stories that I can’t put in either category. This is where Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum lives; in an ambiguous state of literary art.
Hausfrau, which is German for Housewife, sums up this story in one word. It is a simple title for a complex book. It is not so much complex in story lines, or character development, but it is complex in the way the story is written. Though I did not like a single character, not even the main character, the presentation of the novel is interesting. The writing style kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next despite my distaste for the people within the chapters.
A few questions to keep in mind while reading:
- How does the writing style enhance the story?
- How does language play a part?
- What assumptions do you make about the characters? Does your perception of them change as you read?
- Is the ending effective? Is it believable?
A mark of a good book is not dependent on one single aspect. As I discussed last time, there are so many factors that causes a reader to love or hate a story. Just like any relationship, the connection between the author and the reader is complex, especially since there are so many others involved, the characters.
The discussion was lively at this month’s book club meeting. I’d say that means the book selection was a good one.