Cover Image: Big Swiss

Big Swiss

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Member Reviews

Thank you so much to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this early! This was a hilarious and heartfelt literary novel that delved deeply into the particularly human experience of loneliness. This story was so unique from anything I’ve read recently and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys Otessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney but wished there was a bit more humor.
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The premise of this book is so promising...a woman who works as a transcriptionist for a sex therapist falls in love with one of the people she has come to know extremely intimately through the notes that she has transcribed. But everyone is so messed up in the book that it was hard for me to enjoy. This is being made into an HBO series so I'm curious if the characters will be as over-the-top on the screen.
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"Big Swiss" hides a story about self-compassion underneath a wry, sapphic love story. I would recommend this book to fans of "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" who want something a with a touch less nihilism and a bit more queerness. Some readers may find the non-Greta characters to be too on-the-nose with their post-Hipster quirkiness, but that element will definitely appeal to readers looking for a sardonic read.
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Thank you Scribner for Big Swiss; I also had access to this as an audiobook from the Libro.FM ALC program and listened to parts of the book after reading it to see how this worked as an audiobook as the book is an interesting format/premise.  

An examination of what happens when the voices you hear in one setting while transcribing therapy sessions are actually a part of your daily small town life... what happens when you fall for one of these patients?  If you want if not answers at least a fascinating examination of these topics and literary writing, Big Swiss is for you.

This is a hard one for me to review, I liked it, wanted to love it based on the summary I read but something fell short for me.   Primarily, this is a sharp assessment of midlife crisis (though that's not a real thing per se), small town claustrophobia, and who doesn't like a few voices cutting through the typical daily life to get right to the point (the examination for example of trauma ... worked for me).  The writing was witty, characters astute, and the resolution was for me satisfying and well done, a solid ending is always a win for me.

For me more though the disconnect was never feeling invested in Greta, a character who I couldn't fully connect with or understand, even as the plot came together (though I felt I could see early on how the story was going to unfold).  That might be intentional... other readers can decide how they feel!

Recommended for fans of speculative literary fiction, I see lots of readers making connections to Ottessa Moshfegh and I would agree.  I also recommend this for fans of I am thinking of ending things.
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This book is incredible -- it was hard to put down and so well written.  I fell into the lives of Greta and Big Swiss immediately, wholeheartedly and didn't want to let go. I laughed although this was a bit darker than I expected but it fit with the story and the characters.  I definitely recommend this book and this author if you like literary fiction and beautiful writing. I know I will re-read this book.

Big Swiss comes out next week on February 7, 2023, you can purchase HERE!  This book is SO good!!

I spent a lot of time alone, but I was rarely lonely because I like my own brain.
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One of the weirdest books I've ever read, and I loved every second of it.

Such a unique concept. The characters were complex, funny, and at times, a bit tragic. I laughed, chuckled, cringed, and held onto my hat for the whole ride. If you're looking for something, weird, sapphic, funny, dry, and overall unique- look no further.
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This book falls into one of my favorite categories--bizarro narrator doing bizarro things, with lots of weird detail and humor.
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I struggled with this novel-which I wanted to like- about Greta, a woman who falls in love with Flavia, one of the clients whose therapy she transcribes.  Set in Hudson, NY, it's got all the feels of a small town overtaken by exiles from the city determined to be artisanal (the guy with the bread!) and at times, I found myself reading for more of that content or of the transcripts of Flavia and Om. Greta has issues, deservedly so, from her mother's death and her chaotic childhood but now she's 40 something (she conveys as much younger) and she's living with Sabine in a house that defies description (there's a live beehive, many stink bugs) who pretty much supports herself as a dealer.  The relationship between Flavia and Greta grows out of a chance meeting in a dog park and while it's interesting, I never became invested.  Ultimately I realized the problem was that I didn't like Greta.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I'll be the odd one out so over to others to decide for themselves.
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Big Swiss lived up to the hype, all of the hype. It was laugh out loud funny and achingly heart breaking at the same time. I was the perfect depiction of small town life, but that very specific small town living in the shadow of Manhattan and full of NYC 'ex-pats'. It was mid-life crisis and quarter life crisis all rolled into one and I didn't want it to end. For fans of Moshfegh and the like, Big Swiss is a portrait of women going through both minor and major moments in their life and the ripple effects as it all plays out.
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In this often-hilarious novel, Greta works as a 60-year-old transcriber for a sex therapist. Listening to patients’ voices all day, she feels as though she knows them, intimately, and what she doesn’t know about them, she fills in the gaps. She’s taken with one patient in particular, a woman in her twenties whom Greta refers to as Big Swiss. After a run in at a dog park, the two become friends - Greta creating a new identity for herself so Big Swiss won’t realize who she is. Beagin’s voice is so wholly unique that no matter where this book went – and it did venture into some pretty heavy and dark territory, I felt lucky to follow. This is a book about friendship and manipulation and I especially loved a fresh take on sexagenarian’s sexuality. Thank you to WHO and to Netgalley for the advanced review copy. Thank you to Scribner and to NetGalley for the advanced review copy.
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"ottessa moshfegh writes a comedy novel" would be an excellent blurb.

huge thank you to netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the copy in exchange for an honest review ❤️

-- SOME THOUGHTS --

this book was absolutely captivating from start to finish, from the inventive use of transcriptions throughout Om's therapy sessions, to the interactions between Greta and Big Swiss herself. it's one of those books that grabbed me from the opening pages and as Greta beings unspooling her life for the reader, the author does a great job with creating a portrait of a very complicated, messy woman with echoes of Ottessa Moshfegh (my queen). all of the characters are specific, precise, and the way that Beagin writes dialogue is a masterclass within itself.

the only thing keeping this book from a perfect five-star rating is that some of the jokes and humor pushed things a bit too far for my liking and made me slightly uncomfortable, especially when some of the problematic statements by the characters go unaddressed by other characters or within the narration itself. I understand that that is more than likely the point of the book. Huge thank you once again to the publisher, Netgalley, and Jen Beagin for the ARC and I will be wholly recommending this book to whoever asks me for book recommendations. ❤️
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I saw a reviewer say her favorite genre is messed up women doing crazy sh*t and I think she nailed it, and nailed why I enjoyed this wacky yet addictive work of fiction. 

Greta lives in a small town working to transcribe the sessions of a sex coach. Greta soon falls for one of her bosses female patients and they begin an intense affair. Along the way we learn about both women’s traumatic pasts, each dealing with them in different ways. The book is also filled with animals (there’s a bee hive in the house Greta lives in for example) strange memories, humor and some graphic sex talk.

This book took me a minute to hook into but once I was in I was laughing and cringing (gleefully) along the way. There are some serious laugh out loud moments here and the writing is very quirky and unique. I felt a weird connection to Greta even through her damaged lense. Certainly not a book for everyone but for those that like offbeat and unhinged this is for you.
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Unique well written drew me right in devoured in a day.I laughed out loud more then once.Jen Beagins writing is a treasure I’m already looking forward to her next novel.#netgalley #scribner.
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This book was well written, but at time very wordy. The content was not my normal, but I wanted to finish it as I heard Jodie Comer was slated to star as Big Swiss in an HBO adaption of this book.
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I really enjoyed this one. I've seen other reviews compare it to Moshfegh's novels, and I agree that there are definitely some similarities, but there are enough differences to make it feel fresh. I loved how Greta's job added so much to the story--that we got to read some of the transcripts, and for other characters, she recognized them by their voice. It's the perfect book for nosy people (myself included).  

I maybe wanted a little more resolution between Greta and Big Swiss, but I also understand why the story ended where it did. Overall, would definitely recommend this one.
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say hello to the brilliant newcomer to the unhinged woman genre.

greta is newly single and new to the hudson valley, she lands a job working as a transcriber for a sexual therapist which results. in her she spending her days listening to her neighbors sexual problems. one particular woman with an accent calls her attention. big swiss is what greta calls her, she’s from switzerland and has a refreshing attitude towards trauma. after running into big swiss in the dog park the two become a pair which quickly turns messy with lies and secrecy. 

this book makes us ask ourselves what is trauma and how do you deal with it? 

jen beagin created something completely unhinged, hilarious, messy, intense and a story that is simply a damn good time. if you love ottessa moshfegh and melissa broder i think this is the book for you!
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The writing is stilted, there is no character development and the storyline is lacking. I struggled to finish it. Hard pass.
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Our main character, Greta transcribes Sex Therapy sessions in her small town. The peek into peoples innermost issues was intriguing. I had a hard time forming a solid mental picture of a few characters, as development was somewhat scattered. I felt that the most developed character in this book was the old house.   Thank you Net Galley for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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BIG SWISS was hilarious omg. I did not expect to laugh so much. I loved the voice, the strange array of characters that inhabit the Hudson setting, which was so ridiculously rendered it became one of my favorite aspects of the novel. The premise itself was wonderfully original. This was such a delight.

Thanks to the publisher for the e-galley!
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The cover of this one made me want to read it and then I read the description and I was excited! This book was a weird chaos of things that wouldn't happen in real life. Someone has a bee hive in their kitchen? And all these people in a small town see the same sex therapist? And it's a sex therapist that wears mesh crop tops in the sessions? I like weird, but I think this was just too weird for me. No one in the story was really all that particularly likeable, so I wasn't all that attached and didn't really care what happened to them. This one may not have really been my vibe.
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