Cover Image: Big Swiss

Big Swiss

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Member Reviews

This book made me laugh and cringe and hold my breath.. The characters were well developed. The story was an intense slow burn.. The writing was exquisite and vivid. I could literally feel the air in that old farmhouse. And I could hear honeybees. The end felt anti climatic to me. So I'm giving the book a solid 3 stars. I enjoy Jen Begins writing style. Bold and unflinching.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️
Big Swiss - NetGalley ARC
Pub Date: 2/7/23
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Big Swiss by Jen Beagin is unlike anything I have read. It’s an odd story about Greta, who is employed to transcribe faux-therapist client sessions to save as content for his future novel. Something about that concept screams a violation of the HIPAA rules, but what do I know? The sexual therapist, appropriately going by the name OM (arghhh), is a quack and kook, but he has a booming business with odd people with unusual life problems. Greta grows intrigued with the stories she transcribes and ends up “stalking” one of the subjects to see them in person, especially the woman known as Big Swiss for her height and her blonde ethereal qualities, which fascinate Greta. All sorts of boundary lines are crossed, and this story becomes even more strange with dirty pub brawls, coming of middle age sexual moments, bees, suicidal parents, grungy pubs, alcoholism, and dog cruelty. Then when Greta personally goes to OM, he tells her she caused her own mother’s suicide even though Greta was miles away at a horse camp which has some unbelievably gross details making my mind blank out. This novel is a wild and righteous mess about unhinged characters, but HBO is making a movie from this book, so let me know your thoughts. I think it was weird. Whew, this is one wacky story with an odd ending. #psychiatry #stories #rape #beatings #bees #suicide #stalking #relationships #confusing #weird #fastread #LBGTQ #BigSwiss @netgalley #book #books #bookstagram @scribnerbooks
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I received a complimentary copy of this ARC. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Thank you to Scribner, NetGalley, and the author for the opportunity to read this book. Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023.

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The Story: Greta lives in a decrepit farmhouse — a huge beehive inhabits the kitchen, the house has no insulation and warmth is only provided by fire. She spends her days transcribing the sessions of a sex therapist in town. Greta dubs one of the patients “Big Swiss” and then she meets her at the local dog park. And you have to read to find out more.

My Story: So, so weird, creative and fantastic. If off-beat works for you (and even if you are not sure if it does), pick this one up. I’m still thinking about it. It’s probably also fantastic on audio. If you listened to the audio, lmk.

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When I picked up Big Swiss I knew it was going to be one of those weird, character-driven novels that isn't for everybody.. But I really enjoyed it! Greta is recently transplanted to Hudson, New York, a strange little town where everybody seems to know everybody else's business. She lives in decrepit splendor with an old friend and works as a transcriptionist for a sex therapist called Om. Not too on the nose at all. Greta becomes fixated by one of Om's patients whom she dubs "Big Swiss" and soon the two meet in real life.

This book was bizarre and full of dark humor. The story was incredibly engaging and easy to become obsessed with. I loved the inclusions of Greta's work transcripts - it made the story flow really well and helped you get to know the minor characters we saw pop up from time to time. The author did a great job of describing all of the weird moments of small town nonsense and it really made me wish my own small town was a little bit stranger. It's not all fun and games though - this book definitely has some darker moments and we see a lot of them in Greta's backstory. Look up content warnings if you're unsure.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for an advance copy. I look forward to reading more from this author!

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Big Swiss is weird, quirky, witty story that in reality I struggled to finish. I did find myself laughing out loud at some parts and scratching my head asking what just happened after others.

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I wanted to like this book but the main character was so unlikeable i couldnt finish the book. The premise sounds better than the actual storyline. It seemed to ramble too much.

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For fans of Ottessa Moshfegh, Big Swiss is a novel with strange themes that will make you think. Can be confusing at times.

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Greta moves to Hudson, NY and gets a job transcribing sex therapy sessions. She becomes very intrigued by one patient, who she calls Big Swiss. She eventually meets Big Swiss and an affair begins - not without consequences.

This novel was hilarious and quite good! I really enjoyed the descriptions of Hudson, which I'm pretty familiar with, and the humor throughout. I'll definitely recommend to many people of all ages - I think there's something here for a lot of people.

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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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