We received an advanced copy of the novel “Big Swiss” in exchange for a review of the novel. Read our review below to see why we recommend you grab your copy as soon as it’s released on February 7, 2023!
Official synopsis: Greta lives in Grey Gardens-style splendor in a crumbling, 18th-century Dutch farmhouse with donkeys in the backyard, sixty thousand honey bees in the ceiling, her beloved Jack Russell Pinon, and her best friend Sabine. Her work, which suits her sometimes reclusive nature, is transcribing sessions for a local, definitely not licensed sex therapist called Om. Greta becomes obsessed with one of his clients, whom she dubs Big Swiss for her teutonic stoicism (with uncharacteristic professionalism, Om preserves the anonymity of his clients.) When Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice IRL at a dog park in Hudson, NY, she contrives a meeting.
HNS review: If I had to assign this book a word, it would be intoxicating. I think this word accurately describes both the two main characters in the novel and how they felt toward one another as well as how it feels reading the pages. I could not put this book down. I was completely consumed by the story, and had to fight myself to not skip ahead for spoilers as I couldn’t wait to see what happens next (I may have cheated a few times).
The story is unique and the characters complex. I’ve never read something like this before. Both main characters have experienced immense trauma in their lives and navigate it in completely different ways. They’re bonded by what they have in common, while having nothing in common at all. They become obsessed with each other, and it’s fascinating to be immersed in that as a reader. It is not a straightforward romance. One of the characters is not available, and this instills some inner conflict as a reader. You’re rooting for a couple you know perhaps you shouldn’t root for, but you can’t help it. I love how flawed the characters are. You’re not going to find the stereotypical protagonists here. Despite their flaws, you also can’t help but fall a little in love with them.
The writing isn’t shy. The author goes places that are intense, shocking, and uncomfortable at times. And I say this as a compliment. Because sometimes honesty feels uncomfortable, and I think those are the moments that resonate the most. The sex scenes are detailed, messy, and enthralling. The way the story is written made for a very unforgettable experience, and I found myself thinking about the characters long after finishing the book. I sincerely hope there will be a sequel, because I feel like this can’t be the end to their stories. Although there was a conclusion of sorts to the story, there was a lot left untold and I was left feeling unsettled. Readers will be left wanting more. I’m crossing my fingers this is intentional and setting us up for a sequel. (This is my wishful thinking. There has been no news on a sequel.)
“Big Swiss” is being adapted into a TV series featuring Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) that will premiere on HBO Max. I think this casting as Big Swiss – aka Flavia – is simply perfection and I can absolutely see her in this role. I can’t wait to see where she takes the character. I’m excited to see casting for the other characters as well, and hope we get more information on that soon.
I must add that the novel deals with some serious issues, so a trigger warning should be issued for abuse, assault, suicide, and mental illness.
You can grab your copy of “Big Swiss” wherever books are sold beginning February 7, 2023. Pre-order your copy HERE!