Holds Alert: HAUSFRAU

9780812997538_b69f5Growing attention for Jill Essbaum’s debut novel Hausfrau (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), which came out last week, is having an effect. Holds are rising and as a result, some libraries have increased their orders.

About an unhappy wife who seeks solace elsewhere, it has been compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, (see our earlier roundup) and even Anna Karenina mixed with a bit of Fifty Shades of Grey‘s eroticism.

The author was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Host Lynn Neary quotes reviewer Jane Ciabattari who says, “For a first novelist, Essbaum is extraordinary because she is a poet. Her language is meticulous and resonant and daring.”

But another influential reviewer rains all over the parade. On Friday in the daily The New York Times Janet Maslin, who was on board for The Girl on the Train as well as an important early supporter of Gone Girl, is dismissive, calling Hausfrau “graceless.” She damns both the story, “Ms. Essbaum hasn’t got much of a plot in mind” and the prose as having “all the charm of a sink full of dishwater.”

Will this novel do as well as the books it is compared to? Both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train hit the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list at #2 during their first week on sale, quickly rising to #1. We’re not likely to see the same for Hausfrau. Although holds are growing, they are not nearly as high as they were for the other two titles when they first arrived and the book is still relatively low on Amazon’s sales rankings.

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R.A. Note: Several librarians on GalleyChat recommend another title, The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample) as “better than The Girl on the Train.” Also check out other comparable new titles in our earlier post, Girl On The Train: A Nonstop Ride and one on the horizon, The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor (Workman/Algonquin, May, eARCs available from Edelweiss and NetGalley).

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