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Big Swiss

by Jen Beagin

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5151747,985 (3.67)9
"Greta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she's tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss's refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past. One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss's voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta's true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she'll do anything to sustain the relationship..."--Provided by publisher.… (more)
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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Wow. I have been reading a string of books that were more plot-driven and less sad Brooklyn girl than my usual fare, and enjoying the heck out of them. I started to think that maybe I needed a break from MFAs exploring their trauma response. This extraordinary, relentlessly entertaining, surprising, quietly heartbreaking book upended that line of thought entirely. I don't know how to explain the plot (such as it is) so I will just say that denial ain't just a river in Egypt, and that it only works for so long. Eventually, you find yourself living in a crumbling home and connecting to the world through a rather odd form of voyeurism and stalking and talking to and caring for animals you have anthropomorphized from bees to miniature donkeys. Just read it. It is like nothing you have ever read before. ( )
  Narshkite | May 27, 2024 |
Fun premise but it peters out. ( )
  ghefferon | May 11, 2024 |
A perfect book for Wes Anderson fans with a delectable deadpan delivery of all lines. This book—definitely not for everyone—is a bit boorish and ridiculous at times, but it’s also pretty funny. I laughed a lot: Om, the sex therapist, or more likely, faux therapist; Greta and her witty monologues and over-the-top situations; all the crazy transcripts from Om’s patients. While it was something I laughed out loud through, it’s also a story where I didn’t really care about the characters, which made the second half feel a bit like trudging uphill. ( )
  lizallenknapp | Apr 20, 2024 |
This book was like a car crash. The main character and actually all the characters were extremely unlikable, but I couldn't look away. It was super weird and kind of enthralling, that being said I'm not sure if it was... good? I didn't get anything from it and it was just kind of a dumpster fire even if it was entertaining at times. I'm not really sure it had anything "to say." There were a lot of interesting details and it felt very contemporary but I don't think I would say that I really liked it so overall I guess it was fine and I think I WOULD read more books like this but something about this book just.. didn't quite get there for me as much as I love chaos. It was just kind of trashy and kind of gross, but just to be clear, I ALSO wouldn't say it was bad. I did want to keep reading the whole time. I was invested. The ending was kind of meh for me though. For how drawn out the rest was, the last few chapters felt very abrupt. ( )
  ZetaRiemann | Apr 4, 2024 |
One unique novel. About things like suicide and an affair and traumatic assaults, but also very funny in its own way. Set in upstate New York with memorable characters. ***** ( )
  KatyBee | Feb 26, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Greta called her Big Swiss because she was tall and from Switzerland, and often dressed from top to toe in white, the color of surrender.
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Yes, people age horribly. They suffer strokes. Their bodies and brains fall apart. But the male ego? Firmly intact until the bitter end.
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"Greta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she's tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss's refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past. One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss's voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta's true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she'll do anything to sustain the relationship..."--Provided by publisher.

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