Book Reviews

The Archived & Hausfrau


So far in January I have read 9 books. The last book I reviewed was Winning Against Relapse

Since then I have read several books, the favorite of which was The Archived by Victoria Schwab. This book inspired me to purchase a key necklace because the Keepers in the novel wore keys around their necks. You see the keepers were responsible for returning Histories to the Archive. Histories are what remain of people when they die. If you are a Keeper the next step up is to become a Crew member, someone who retrieves souls who have escaped to the Outside. Keepers only retrieve Histories that have escaped to the Narrows. There is a subplot or two in this book, overall it is a very good read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel.

I also have read an extremely good book called Hausfrau, German for housewife, by Jill Alexander Essbaum. In Hausfrau the housewife, Anna is bored and lonely. So she cheats on her husband repeatedly. She struggles with her morals and in the end it all devolves and becomes quite terrible. Meanwhile there are many great philosophical quotes from this novel. Here are some of my favorites:

“Anna was a good wife, mostly.” P.3

“Anna explained. ‘Is that not always the case? Given any two people in a relationship, one will always love more, the other less. Right?’” p.13

“Psychoanalysis is expensive and it is least effective when a patient lies, even by omission. But analysis isn’t pliers, and truth is not teeth: you can’t pull it out by force. A mouth stays closed as long as it wants to. Truth is told when it tells itself.” P. 30

“Some tears can’t be soothed, they can only be shed.” P. 74

“A lonely woman is a dangerous woman.” Doktor Messerli spoke with grave sincerity. “A lonely woman is a bored woman. Bored women act on impulse.” P.82

“Synchronicity is the external manifestation of an internal reality.” P.83

I’m a queen in a goddamn mercurial bath.”She remembered what the Docktor said: The being dies and takes the body with it. The cost of transcendence is death.” P. 110

“An obsession is a defense against feeling out of control. A compulsion is the failure of that defense.” P.175

“We are marked by our fuckups. We are made from our fuckups.”

The only thing she rarely felt was guilt. Love trumped guilt like rock won over scissors.”

“Walling herself off circumvented the risk of real closeness between two people and the eventual, unavoidable loss that always accompanies love. Liberating herself from the concern of others served a sinister purpose as well. There were fewer people to whom Anna was accountable. It’s the easiest way to lie and not get caught: make yourself matter to no one.”


“No one is promised a tomorrow. She had been wrong about every man she loved or said she loved. She’d been wrong about everything. She’d entered into her life in the middle of its story. She had confused herself with the actress who portrayed her.

And she thought about predestination. How the sum of her days added up to this. The plot of her life had already been published. Everything is foreordained. All is predetermined. The things I do I cannot help. Everything that will happen already has.


“Anna had read that the artist intended the angel’s lusty, robust form to evoke an equally full-bodied femininity, an attitude native to women who don’t give damns what others think.”


“Shames the shadow of love she thought.”


“Even the ugliest swan is still more beautiful than the loveliest crown on the fence, Anna thought.”


“For, Anna thought, if love is not infinite or eternal? Then I want nothing of it.”


“I’ve never been nearly as alone as I always say I am.”


“The trouble with mistakes is that they rarely seem like mistakes when they are made.”


“She could go anywhere she wanted. The going wasn’t the problem. The problem was belonging where she went.”


“There are three kinds of grief.

The first is anticipatory. This is hospice grief. Prognostic grief. This is the grief that comes when you drive your dog to the vet for the very last time. This is the death row inmate’s family’s grief. See that pain in the distance? It’s on it’s way. This is the grief that it is somewhat possible to prepare for. You finish all business. You come to terms. Goodbyes are said and said again. Anguish stalks the chambers of your heart and you steel yourself for the impending presence of an everlasting absence. The grief is an instrument of torture. It squeezes and pulls and presses down.

Grief that follows an immediate loss comes on like a stab wound. This is the second kind of grief. It is a cutting pain and it is always a surprise. You never see it coming. It is a grief that can’t be bandaged. The wound is mortal and yet you do not die. That is its own impossible agony.

But grief is not simple sadness. Sadness is a feeling that wants nothing more than to be sat with, held, and heard. Grief is a journey. It must be moved through. With a rucksack full of rocks, you hike through a black, pathless forest, brambles about your legs and wolf packs at your heels.

The grief that never moves is called complicated grief. It doesn’t subside, you do not accept it, and it never-it never-goes to sleep. This is possessive grief. Run if you will, this grief is faster. This is the grief that will chase you and beat you.

This is the grief that will eat you.”

“Such frippery. The question was not irrelevant. Is it wise to dose oneself with the medicine of foolish vanities? Yes, she thought. Then, No, when she rethought it. A dress, a man, whatever. They cover you, you hide in them. Then Anna shook all philosophies from her head and began to rifle through the Kleiderschrank. I will take what comfort I can get.”


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