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.
"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