Big Swiss: A Novel (Hardcover)
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"Greta, our quirky but troublesome protagonist is living life loosely; she rents a room in a run down house from an escentric woman, their other roommates are a hive of bees and she is mother to her jack russell terrier.
Previously a pharmacy tech who dealt with an alcoholic pharmacist and the stress of dealing with the public (she doesn't need to know why you take anti-depressants), now transcribes sessions for a local sex therapist Om. Living in a small town, she frequently recognizes Om's clients in public, one of which she calls Big Swiss. Big Swiss has a thick accent with a loud personality and she is instantly drawn to her and why she's in therapy. She meets Big Swiss by chance at a dog park and they fall into an intense affair which can't possibly last - Greta struggles between her obsession with Big Swiss but also having the secret knowledge of her therapy sessions. Headed towards disaster, Greta comes to terms with past trauma as well as what she's actually doing and we're along for this wild and turbulent ride. I'd recommend this to fans of Ottessa Moshfegh for the shock factor - scenes in this novel are not for the faint of heart."--Reviewed by Salie
February 2023 Indie Next List
“Big Swiss is an I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-this kind of book. When I first read the concept, I was shocked, but intrigued. Now that I’ve read the book, I want everyone else to share in my cringing, laughing, and heart palpitations.”
— Lily Sadighmehr, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
A brilliantly original and funny novel about a sex therapist’s transcriptionist who falls in love with a client while listening to her sessions. When they accidentally meet in real life, an explosive affair ensues.
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…
Bold, outlandish, and filled with irresistible characters, Big Swiss is both a love story and also a deft examination of infidelity, mental health, sexual stereotypes, and more—from an amazingly talented, one-of-a-kind voice in contemporary fiction.
About the Author
Jen Beagin holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, and is a recipient of a Whiting Award in fiction. Her first novel Pretend I’m Dead was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and Vacuum in the Dark was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction. She is also the author of Big Swiss. She lives in Hudson, New York.
“One of the funniest books of the last few years. . . . Beagin may sooner be hotter than a farm-to-table restaurant in a bougie upstate town, but her work will be around much longer. . . . both timely and ultimately transcendent.” —The Los Angeles Times
“It's wild, it's hilarious, and it's so good.”—Cosmopolitan, Best Books of 2023 (So Far)
“[Beagin’s] most exciting book yet . . . [an] idiosyncratic love story . . . wrenching and hilarious.”—New York Magazine
“Always interesting and frequently hilarious . . . the ride is too fun to stop.” —Anthony Breznican, Vanity Fair
"Darkly comic." —New Yorker
“Big Swiss is a refreshingly anti-trauma-plot novel… The book is wry, fresh, and absorbing.”—Bindu Bansinath, The Cut
“A fantastic, weird-as-hell, super funny novel.” —Bustle
“Beagin writes with a zany, overflowing energy. . . . Big Swiss is a comic novel, but it is one with a very tender core.” —Vogue, Most Anticipated Books of 2023
“Beagin may have found the best vehicle yet for her nihilist whimsy.” —Entertainment Weekly, Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2023
“Weird and horny and unfettered in all the best ways.” —The Millions, Most Anticipated Books of 2023
“Beagin’s black comedy is a laugh-out-loud bad romance for Gen Xers and an ode to misfits who just want to belong.” —Oprah Daily, Most Anticipated Books of 2023
“Erotic cottagecore as only Jen Beagin can do it.” —Electric Lit
"Outlandish . . . quirky, darkly humorous. . . . One of the biggest literary hits of 2023." —Times Union
“This funny, offbeat story asks questions about telling the truth, falling in love, and who we really are when no one else is looking—or so we think.” —Town & Country “This unconventional love story has a surplus of appeal from page one.” —Publishers Weekly “Beagin returns with another wonderfully off-kilter protagonist. . . Big Swiss establishes her place among artfully eccentric writers like Nell Zink, Elif Batuman, and Jennifer Egan.” —Kirkus
“Big Swiss is a dark party; a hilarious romp through new age pop psychology, romantic obsession, sapphic acrobatics, dogs, and the desire to end it all. Beagin’s voice is an engine all its own, and I delighted in this cynical, sexy, hopeless, hopeful, Hudson Valley jubilee. Come for the bees, stay for the donkeys!” —Melissa Broder, author of Milk Fed “I chugged this book! Pick it up because you like cheese, stay for the brilliant sentences. Beagin channels everything evil, hot, intimate, and funny about spying on people while secretly hoping to get caught. By the end you’ll be so in love you’ll want to move to Hudson yourself, no matter how messy it gets.” —Beth Morgan, author of A Touch of Jen