I only gave this three stars because of the unnecessarily crude and filthy language and sexual descriptions. I listened to the audio and some parts were so graphic, I had to fast forward and skip them. The line between porn and sexy seems to have gotten very blurred. However, the story itself will keep you very interested, wondering how everything will work out, since Anna is playing with fire. The constantly moving timeline, mixed with her present day life and her memories of the past, will confuse you until the end, most likely. Perhaps the print book would therefore be a better choice. However, the book is read well, and when it ends, you will be stunned, so don’t turn to the last page, whatever you do.
Anna lives in Switzerland with her Swiss husband, Bruno and her three children. She is a sad woman, lonely and bored. As an expat, she has no real support system, and because she also chooses to keep to herself, she does not maintain relationships and she has few friends. Her husband Bruno seems to be distant, cold and very controlling in his behavior. He is as strict about the order of his life as the Swiss train schedule is about its arrivals and departures. His mother is quite stern and can be haughty and rude. Anna finds it hard to find a place for herself, a place where she feels loved, wanted, safe, and happy, in its embrace. When she does feel happiness, she is surprised and relieved, but most often, she thinks about what disappoints her, not what gives her joy
In her loneliness, Anna eventually seeks solace outside the home. First she visits an analyst who tries to help her deal with her depression. Then she seeks comfort in the arms of some strangers. She no longer respects her marital vows and begins to lead a double life taking unnecessary chances and jeopardizing her future. She is searching for something, but she is never sure of what that is, in the end.
As the reader witnesses some of her sessions with the analyst and the scenes with her lover, they see two Annas. One is wanton and uncontrolled, while the other is isolated and completely controlled, hardly letting anyone in to see who the real Anna may be. She continues to open forbidden doors which close all other doors to her normal life behind her. When a tragedy shocks her into action and an idle remark made by her best friend reveals her deepest secret to her husband, Bruno, she finds herself shamed, and beaten. With few options, she does not think clearly, and as always, she makes foolish decisions when more sensible ones are available. She dreams dreams, that can’t be fulfilled. She asks questions that have no real answers. She discovers that she has not been independent, that she has few options in life, and she makes a final choice.
Who is at fault for the pain and loneliness in Anna’s life? Is it the coldness of her husband, her distance from her place of birth, or it Anna’s lack of self control and her inability to seek solutions that will enhance her life. She always seems to throw in a monkey wrench that will make her choice more dodgy. Anna remarks, very early in the book, and then again at the end, that “she was a good wife, mostly”. Was Anna a good wife, mostly? This book would make for a good discussion if the reader can get by the real filthy language and excessively vulgar descriptions of her sexual encounters.