Big fan of quirk, but this was a bit too quirky for me. Constant feeling of discomfort while reading.
Received as a free ebook from NetGalley.
I wanted to like this book as it sounded interesting, but I could not get into this book. There were so many characters and it was confusing. I also did not like any of the characters or care about what happened to them. I found I just did not want to pick this up and read it. I did not finish this book. I gave it a good try, but it was time to put it down and walk away. Maybe it wasn't the time for me to be reading this book. Maybe I will pick it up in the future and try again.
Started off very funny with modern fairytale imagery that sucked me in, had moments in the middle that I couldn’t tell if they were straight up racism or a satire of how a certain type of white person thinks in Hudson, and then totally lost its way leading to a non-ending 😵💫
I’m a little confused why I’ve seen this one everywhere? Is it just because it’s in the beloved category of the Moshfegh/Broder messy woman?
I was very excited to read this title. I laughed so many times while reading this novel. However, midway through, I could not comprehend this one particular scene. I had played it over and over in my mind but did not understand the purpose of why it was there except for possibly character development. I ended up not finishing the book (DNF) halfway through but still had it preordered and have an official kindle copy. I hope that someday I will pick it up again, and continue laughing because this book is hilarious.
Darkly humorous! How we are the worst to ourselves in every way and lash out in self sabotage. Funny, sad, and unique!
This book had great character development even though all the characters were absolutely horrible. If you liked My Year of Rest and Relaxation, give this one a try.
I’m calling it right now - this might be my favorite book of the year, or at the very least it will absolutely be in my top ten!
I didn’t really know what I was getting into with “Big Swiss” by Jen Beagin, I have not read her other books and the plot summary was quite vague, but as soon as I started reading, I was captivated.
In simple terms, the book follows a sex therapist’s transcriptionist who accidentally meets a patient she is obsessed with in real life and then an explosive affair ensues between the two women. But the story is so much larger than this and brings up issues like privacy, isolation, trauma, and commitment. While addressing some heavy subjects, the prose is still wickedly funny and insightful. Beyond the two main protagonists, the book was filled with fascinating secondary characters who could all easily carry their own complete book. Since I live in New York City and spend a lot of time in the Hudson Valley, I also really loved the setting of the book and Beagin was pitch perfect with describing the town of Hudson and its many peculiarities.
I felt like I was highlighting every other line, but these were some of my favorite quotes:
“She had trouble being in her body in general, which was why she liked to be roughed up by the elements and was always either sunburned, windblown, or damp from the rain.”
“Although she was newly single and happier than she'd been in years, a small part of her was still ready to die, and still enjoyed telling lies.”
“She also hesitated to sign anything, even credit card slips, because she'd never liked her signature. She'd tried changing it over the years, but it was like trying to change her voice. On the other hand, Hudson was overflowing with people who'd successfully reinvented themselves. I was a corporate lawyer in the city for years, and then I moved to Hudson and became a flower farmer/ doll maker/antiques dealer/chef/arborist/ alcoholic, and I never looked back. ‘I moved to Hudson to reinvent my handwriting,’ she imagined telling someone over drinks. ‘It's been an incredible journey.’”
This book was so outlandish that it actually works. The premise of the book is funny by itself, but then you end up with so much more. There was no filter for Greta internally or externally. She is definitely a flawed character and is definitely her own thing all by herself. This book does not really take anything seriously and that was really the appeal for me. It is very possible to find the characters to be unlikable and just go with the flow. This author is offering something different and something quite graphic at times as well. Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.
After reading this book I immediately ordered other books by Jen Beagin and I was not disappointed. I've bought a few copies of this book to offer friends and I can not wait to see the upcoming series with Jodie Comer. Thank you for such an entertaining book, Jen Beagin!
A really entertaining book. This isn't the type of book I normally enjoy reading (relationships based on deception) but I found the characters engaging and the situations they find themselves in to be entertaining.
I found this book hard to get into but ultimately very good, and I know that many other people I've spoken with have enjoyed it.
I’m conflicted about my thoughts and feelings after finishing this book. I should start by saying that along with the ARC I was gifted, I also bought the actual book because I was equally interested in the story, whether I got to read it before being published or not.
Something about this book broke me a little. It exposed an uncomfortable sense of longing and shame that I can’t explain. It made me question why I was struggling to put this book down while finding myself not wholly enamoured with the writing.
Big Swiss was both a big surprise and a little bit of a miss for me. I’ll start by saying I was deeply invested in Greta and Flavia’s affair. I was, maybe immorally, rooting for them. I wanted them to make it. I found the author’s choice of narrative so raw and objective and—surprisingly—romantic. There was something about their interactions and time together that exposed the intensity of their affair. Maybe it was how they mirrored one another’s ugliest sides. How they pushed and pulled yet were undeniably drawn to one another despite all the things they disliked about each other. There was a tenderness that shouldn’t have been romantic but was. And that kept me fixated on the book.
I was surprised by how invested I became in the plot, how little I picked up on outside of Greta and Flavia. How much I wanted them to continue on. I was surprised by how unfeeling I was about the ending (I believe the previous chapter actually provided me with a sense of closure and relief I didn’t know I needed). Overall I keep returning to the sense of surprise.
I hated Greta’s initial thoughts and feelings and some of the ways in which I found she neglected herself so carelessly. I wanted to like her—even tolerate her—from the very beginning. The writing style—or maybe it was the same sense of rawness—made that so difficult but, by the end, was proven almost necessary.
I don’t know if I can quantify a rating; I think whatever I give it will change the more I think about it.
Thank you Scribner, NetGalley, and Jen Beagin for allowing me the opportunity to read and review Big Swiss (despite it being overdue).
Reading this book was different than most books I read; I didn't particularly care for it but I could not stop reading it. Like the train wreck you cannot look away from. As soon as I was ready to ditch it, it would grab me and I would continue to read.
The story centers around Greta, a quirky woman who transcribes a sex therapist's sessions to make money. Greta falls in love with one of the patients, Big Swiss.
Jen Beagin's characters are dysfunctional and deeply flawed. Flavia and Greta are both intense, interesting characters BUT I could not relate and that may have been why it was such a difficult book to read: NO connection.
I was mostly exhausted reading this book and was grateful when the last page was turned, though the book kept me turning pages wondering what these two woman were going to do next.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Scribner, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This story is Greta is a transcriber for a sex therapist, Om, and she becomes sexually involved with a patient of Om, Big Swiss. The book goes into Greta’s past and she also ends up in therapy with Om. The story weaves through each character’s past and the current complications that result. The book is titled for one character, Big Swiss, in the book but was about Big Swiss’s relationships with the other characters. The book’s central theme seems to focus on sex, such as Om’s assisting with sexual issues and the sexual relationship between Greta and Big Swiss. It really wasn’t my kind of book; but if this is a subject you’re interested in, you may enjoy it.
This book was dark and emotional and all around a wild ride. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and seeing how the narrative unfolded for each of the characters lives.
Thank you to Net Galley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
This was a truly unique reading experience. The premise and formatting are highly bingeable. And while it grapples with some very serious, heavy issues, the best part of this book -- the thing that will linger with me most about Jen Beagin's writing -- is the effortless humor interspersed throughout.
Greta is our forty-five year-old narrator, who works as a transcriptionist for a sex therapist named Om. As she is listening in on the sessions, she becomes intrigued by one of his clients specifically, who she starts referring to as Big Swiss (given both her accent and attitude). It doesn't take long for Greta's two worlds to collide. When she and Big Swiss meet in person, she is faced with a moral dilemma. Given the confidentiality agreement she signed -- and the ethics of the situation -- she should keep her distance from this person, rather than become further entangled in her life. And yet, Greta does not take the high road. Instead, she lies about who she is and havoc ensues.
I don't think this book will be for everyone, but I thought it was complex, hilarious, and truly different from anything I've ever read. I appreciated the amount of levity woven into a story that is otherwise about trauma and the slow, arduous process of confronting it. If you're into quirky, character-driven lit fic, this is the one for you.
This was a surprisingly wonderful read. So complex and thought provoking, even when at times uncomfortable. I've never read a book quite like Big Swiss. It's so unique that you'd think one would hesitate to recommend it to friends, however I've recommended it to so many in my life.
A brilliant, sharp, hilarious and deeply weird read. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one gulp. Jen Beagin is a sparkling talent - I can't wait for more from her.
Phenomenal from start to finish oh my goodness! The characters the weird dialogue !!! This was my kind of book and I have been handselling this like crazy. It is so funny and outrageous but there is this emotional depth that blew me away. I cried at the end (and I never cry at books, let alone funny ones!)
Originally I enjoyed this book for its totally quirky, strange storyline that keeps you on your toes - I also liked the queer rep. Unfortunately though, the author has been called out for racism within the text in more than instance towards Asian folks and her response was essentially that she didn't care. I find this very unsettling so I cannot in good conscience recommend the book.