Cover Image: Big Swiss

Big Swiss

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Member Reviews

This was a Weird, roller coaster of a read I loved the opening chapters, love Greta’s dry, sarcastic yet often witty humor. I laughed out loud several times then there was a point that I found so off putting that I stopped reading but then couldn’t stop wondering what else happened with Greta and Big Swiss –– the dialogue, pace, and characterization were 5 stars but the explicit often crude sexual details during sessions felt cringey and I didn’t like and I have issues with the last 25% - I think Greta is the star of this story,– this is a tough one to recommend but if all this sounds good I say try it, just know that there are abundant content warnings so check those out if there are things you for sure want to avoid

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Big Swiss is a unique and captivating novel that is both strange and entertaining. The characters are quirky, weird, and fascinating. The writing is sharp and suspenseful.

The titular character, Big Swiss, is a curious and enigmatic presence, and the mystery surrounding her is one of the book's most compelling elements. As the story unfolds, readers become as obsessed with her as Greta is.

I ultimately enjoyed this strange, witty book, although I did feel secondhand stress a lot from Greta! Many thanks to Scribner for the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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An absolute delight! This book surprised me with how funny it was, and how tender the moments of affection within it felt. Everything about it felt entirely unique and I loved the references to some of my favorite spots in Hudson (Lil Deb's in particular). I'll be thinking about this for a long time to come!

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I loved this book from the start. I was so excited about for ages and I'm so mad at myself for not putting aside everything I was reading to start this immediately when I first got it. But this book is so fun and I found myself struggling to put it down. I really enjoyed the transcription elements, they added something so different. I love the characters so much and I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to read this before it hit the shelves. I've obviously been recommending it a ton since.

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Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Scribner Books for gifting me a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review of Big Swiss by Jen Beagin - 3 stars.

Greta is in her 40s, single, living with a friend in an old farmhouse in Hudson, NY, full of bees, and working as a transcriber for a sex coach named Om. She becomes obsessed with one of his clients that she names Big Swiss because she's tall and originally from Switzerland. Like Greta, Big Swiss has been through a big trauma but she appears to handle it better than Greta is handling her past trauma. The two meet at a dog park when Greta recognizes her voice. Greta lies about her real name and the fact that she transcribed Big Swiss' therapy notes, but they soon begin an intense relationship.

This book is getting rave reviews so please read them! I obviously was not the target audience for this one, and while i liked parts - the epistolary way we read Greta's transcriptions, the descriptions of the farmhouse (complete with stink bugs that we get here in Upstate NY!) - I just didn't like any of the characters and struggled through the story.

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I love a book with a fucked up protagonist and 𝗕𝗜𝗚 𝗦𝗪𝗜𝗦𝗦 delivers on that in the best way.

Greta lives in a small town where she transcribes therapy sessions with a sex coach for a living. She becomes infatuated with one of his clients (whom she dubs "Big Swiss") and when she hears the woman's voice at the dog park, she introduces herself with a fake name and the two fall into a relationship.

HBO is adapting this book into a series after winning the rights in a 14-way bidding war (Jodie Comer will play the titular character) and I can see why. It's got laugh-out-loud moments but also deals with dark trauma. Beagin's writing is clever and unhinged at times, but the quirkiness of the story and the characters doesn't go too far. The therapy transcripts are such a fun way to reveal a character, giving Big Swiss much-needed nuance, and Greta's struggle not to reveal information she knows from the sessions she listens to is so entertaining. Even the graphic sex scenes are unexpectedly beautiful. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook - it features a stellar cast that brought these unforgettable characters to life.

𝗕𝗶𝗴 𝗦𝘄𝗶𝘀𝘀 won't be for everyone, but it will be a winner for readers like me who appreciate bizarre and borderline-offensive books that also pack an emotional punch.

Thanks to Scribner and for copies to review.

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A sex therapy transcriptionist, an old Dutch house full of bees, and a Swiss woman with a dark past. What could be more entertaining?

As Greta falls for the woman in the recordings she is paid to transcribe, a chance encounter at a dog park brings her closer to the woman with the mysterious yet alluring past.

This novel is not only voyeuristic and engaging but altogether deliciously odd. I especially love how the story progresses with each therapy session and how Beagin lovingly describes each setting and character interaction.

This is a quick review, but overall I highly recommend it as this is a unique experience. From the setting to the characters and the overall plot, I felt like a voyeur myself. I definitely binge-read this one in two days.

The publisher provided ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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There aren’t many, if any, novels I’m fascinated with, disgusted by, and in awe of, all at the same time, aside from Big Swiss. As far as fascination goes, of course the plot point of someone transcribing a sex therapist’s sessions immediately makes you nosy. As for the disgusting parts, maggots are discussed at length, as well as “period diapers” and niggling injuries. I am undoubtedly in awe of the author’s prose, though. Even the gross parts were well written. Additionally, above all else, this book is truly funny. The dialogue was so quick witted that even the long hanging fruit (relating a horse to my beloved Sarah Jessica Parker) made me laugh audibly. I’d give this book five stars for writing and humor, but there were some parts that dragged and some that were uncomfortable, thus four. I kind of liked that it didn’t have a clear, happy ending. I would like to thank Jen Beagin, Scribner, and Netgalley for the ARC.

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!!!! I've literally never read a book like this and I'm so happy I did. It made me slightly uncomfortable, but good books do that. I laughed, I felt, and I was fascinated every single page.

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I really vibed with this book. The wacky and just overall depressingly unhinged nature of our main character Greta really had me BY THE THROAT the whole way through. You never knew what she would do or say next!

I mean with inner monologue gems such as this one: “As it turned out, KPM had the most unusual forehead Greta had ever seen. It looked as though he’d recently shed antlers and they were just beginning to grow back. Somehow this only increased his attractiveness, as though his forehead were a secondary sexual trait.”

This book won’t be for everyone but it hit all the right marks for me!

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I’m certain I won’t read another book this year as quirky as 𝗕𝗶𝗴 𝗦𝘄𝗶𝘀𝘀 ✨

The title refers to the nickname that our main protagonist Greta gives to the voice in the therapy sessions she is transcribing. Greta works for a sex therapist named Om in Hudson, New York (where everyone knows each other) transcribing his patient sessions. When Greta bumps into Big Swiss (real name Flavia) in person at the local dog park, hijinks ensue.

This book is extremely funny, poignant, WILD and very witty. I switched between the audiobook and ebook, and thought that the audio narration was outstanding. There is a full cast of characters that make the dialogue really pop!

I loved the author’s acerbic writing style. She reminds me of Melissa Broder, whose books ‘The Pisces’ and ‘Milk Fed’ are as quirky and funny as this one. Mixed in with all the comedy here are serious issues such as processing trauma and mental health. Highly recommend!!

AND, the incomparable Jodie Comer will be playing Flavia in the HBO version. Perfect casting! 🤌🏻😚

Thanks to @scribnerbooks and @simonaudio for the early copies via NetGalley and

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Big Swiss was deliciously weird. It was unapologetically brash, erotic, and sometimes a little shocking. Within these pages is a unique sense of humor that I don't think I've ever really experienced before in books. The characters were crafted to be just strange enough to be alluring, but never over the top. Having access to the inner workings of Greta's mind was a real treat, she was perfectly quirky and oftentimes brutally human.

It's kind of hard to pinpoint the themes here, it felt like a romance at times but also a slice of life as well as a character study on Greta. There's also a great overarching theme surrounding mental health, therapy, and ultimately a path to healing. We never see a resolution to some of Greta's traumas, but are left with the hope that she finds the will to live. The ending felt a little lackluster to me at first, but the more I thought about it the more it worked with Greta's eccentric character.

This isn't a book for everyone, but if you're looking for a unique and unhinged story, give this one a try! Thanks to NetGally and Scribner Publicity for this arc!

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Very fun. Feels contemporary and fresh without the hollowness of some other millennial literature. Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

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This is a pretty cool, engrossing book about a suicidal woman in her mid 40s who falls in love with a woman she first learns about while transcribing her therapy sessions (the guy isn’t a doctor or a psychologist). It circles questions about how to live with trauma — part of Greta’s attraction to Flavia, the patient, is her apparent refusal to revel in her status as an assault victim on the eve of her attacker getting out of prison. But these past events linger, even when we say we aren’t going to let them, and they linger with Greta, has unresolved feelings about her mother’s death by suicide. You wonder, all this self-interrogation and therapy for what? To get better? What is better? What do we deserve? The novel seems to suggest therapy is at least one answer, in the end, and either that’s slightly too neat for a story that contains a house with a massive bee’s nest inside it, or I’m refusing to acknowledge the truth (as it relates to myself — because what other truth is there?).

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An intriguing piece of Literary Fiction that is, if not exactly enjoyable, certainly interesting.

The coming together of two misfits always seems like a good setup for a New Adult book, and man are the titular Big Swiss and protagonist Greta a couple of tough cases. Their meeting may be technically a bit of a coincidence, but the history that, in a way, already exists between them is not.

Greta is easy to diagnose armchair psychologist style given her past, but the process of getting to know her is still pretty intriguing. Ultimately she’s a lot more likable (or at least more sympathetic) despite her actions than Big Swiss is, but Greta also possesses an interesting breed of semi-self awareness that Big Swiss, for all her “I’m direct” and “I’m honest” preachiness), does not.

The novel also boasts an excellent supporting cast, from Greta’s batty but lovable housemate to Big Swiss’ oddly sweet husband to the very woo woo but also uncannily observant therapist whose work is at the root of the whole mess that our central characters find themselves in.

Overall the book is sharp and well-written, and certainly intriguingly plotted. The humor falls off a bit in the second half, which is common to this sort of novel but still a tad disappointing. And be forewarned if you’re like me and you hate animal violence: There is a very upsetting scene in the second half of this book where a dog is in extreme peril. Ultimately the dog is ok, but I was definitely put off by the inclusion of the scene and it was a negative factor in my enjoyment and assessment of the book.

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NG: Can you state your initials for the transcriber, please?
Me: This seems unnecessary for the purpose of a book review.
NG: Is that why you’re here? For a book review?
Me: I was told this was the place for that, yes.
NG: What did you think of Big Swiss by Jen Beagin?
Me: I thought it was pretty funny.
NG: Can you elaborate on that for me?
Me: It had good jokes and quirky dialogue. Sometimes I felt like the transcripts were just an easy way to avoid writing actual scenes.
NG: Kind of like how you’re writing this book review now.
NG: Did you enjoy the characters?
Me: Yeah. Greta was horrible and awkward and unfortunately entirely relatable. I fell in love with Flavia. I’m thinking about starting my own extramarital affair with a beautiful blonde woman from Switzerland. Do you think that would be good for me?
NG: We’re just a book review website.
Me: The plot was very well paced and moved quickly. It was a super enjoyable read, and I was surprised at how dark it was, and how it balanced that darkness with a lot of twee. I think this will appeal to a lot of people.
NG: That’s it for our session today. Would you like a sound bath before you go?


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I absolutely live for this book - so dark & hilarious & scathing & original!!! I felt like I was eavesdropping on the juiciest conversation ever had the whole time - I was hooked from the beginning & stayed put in my seat for hours to hear the grueling details.

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Greta lives in a small town in upstate New York in a dilapidated farmhouse owned by her friend. She supports herself transcribing the sessions of the town's resident relationship counselor. One of the counselor's clients in particular captures Greta's attention, a woman Greta nicknames "Big Swiss." When she recognizes Big Swiss at a dog park by her voice, Greta panics and introduces herself with a fake name. Surprisingly, to Greta at least, Big Swiss is eager to be friends and their relationship soon evolves to an affair. Greta finds herself enthralled by Big Swiss and goes to increasingly bold lengths to keep their relationship going, even as she grapples with the guilt of the secrets she is keeping from Big Swiss.

Greta is a singular character and the story goes in unusual and often thought-provoking directions, as it grapples with what is true and what is false in Greta and Big Swiss's relationship.

Highly recommended!

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A highly original novel that has such a weirdly compelling plot. Quirky and fun and yet I found myself wanting more. A definite novel to read but I wanted more.

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Big Swiss opens with vivid descriptive writing that had me immediately interested in the main character’s point of view. Greta is a 45-year-old living in an eroding farmhouse in Hudson, New York, and working as a transcriber for a local sex therapist. Living in a small community, Greta finds herself recognizing the voices from the therapy sessions when she is around town and has some trouble staying professional. While transcribing, Greta grows an obsession with one sex therapy client in particular, whom she refers to as Big Swiss.

Reading the transcripts and Greta’s reactions to them was my favorite part of this reading experience. If you like dry humor, clever inner dialogue, and unique character-driven novels, pick this one up. I don’t think every reader will appreciate and enjoy this novel, but I sure did.

Big Swiss is quirky, but centers around trauma and mental health and sapphic love. Trigger warnings include suicide and suicidal ideation

Greta's observations and wit made me laugh out loud at times. I love a smart novel with humor.

Review is posted on Goodreads Michelle Beginandendwithbooks and Instagram @beginandendwithbooks

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