Jen Beagin’s ‘Big Swiss’ Story Has Caused a War of Will

Illustration: by Samantha Hahn

When she got the phone call that would change her life forever, Jen Beagin was in the middle of using a hair dryer to warm the cold sheets of her bed in a beautiful 300-year-old Dutch farmhouse. Hudson, New York, which was not warm. “I was 47 years old, and I had been waiting full-time for seven years, writing early in the morning, and I burned out.” At first, he thought the Whiting Foundation was a scam. “I kept saying, ‘The basis of writing?’ We went back and forth like that for a while. ” Beagin finally accepted that he was one of the recipients of the 2017 grant of $ 50,000 for emerging writers. The Foundation honored his first book, Like I’m Dead, a fictional novel narrated by a house cleaner who messes with her clients. (When he wasn’t waiting, cleaning houses was one of Beagin’s many years of work.) He did try to discourage the caller. “I said, ‘That book is really short,’ and they said, ‘No, you deserve this.’ They keep saying, ‘You deserve this.'”

Whiting’s money plus the first money Simon & Schuster paid Like I’m Dead it helped Beagin to finally quit his job and write full time. Valley in the Darksequel to Like I’m Deadpublished in 2019. 7 February brings readers his best novel yet: an idiosyncratic love story Switzerland is big. Jodie Comer is turning the book into a TV series for HBO in which she will star as the lead character, after winning a 14-way battle for the movie rights.

Beagin was in a different house – a warm one – in Hudson as we speak, which is his own. He reluctantly moved out of the Dutch house when his friend sold it in 2019, then bought this house after selling his father’s house when he passed away in 2021. We had to shout a little because of the noise of someone tearing down a wall in her basement, so Jen started the conversation by apologizing for the noise I heard and to the person who would eventually record our conversation. Jen worked as a copywriter herself, and Switzerland is bigHer project is about the text: Greta, 45 years old, and living an endless life, works as a writer for Hudson’s main sex therapist, an eccentric man named “Om “. (When Greta first meets Om, she is wearing a felt fedora, along with “black eyeliner, a nice white linen tunic, and denim shorts.”) She quickly learns the secrets of almost and everyone in town, including Om’s private patient. he’s called Big Swiss because he’s tall and, well, Swiss.

You can develop a lot of people very quickly if you include therapy articles in your book, of course. Big Swiss is an indelible character; she’s beautiful but she’s deliberately unlikable, unlikable, vague, and addicted to makeup. She is a gynecologist who survived a horrific attack, yet she has nothing but contempt for what she calls “traumatized people.” However, what brings him to Om’s office is that in 28 years he has never felt happy. It’s easy to see why many famous actors were interested in playing this role: Big Swiss has a lot of diversity; he’s funny and handsome, and there’s something really cool about saying “Big Swiss.”

Beagin set out with the express intention of writing a good book about trauma. Greta’s mother committed suicide when she was 12 years old, and in general her life since then has been strange. Big Swiss, maybe because of what he did it won’t call him his misfortune, he has a frightening capacity for cruelty. When Greta and Big Swiss finally meet at the dog park, their love is inevitable, but also very surprising. Greta struggles to keep everything she’s learned from documenting Big Swiss’s therapy sessions from spilling out into casual conversation.

Watching Greta and Big Swiss manipulate each other’s minds and bodies is one of the book’s great pleasures. Beagin’s sex pictures are like someone else’s. In bed with Big Swiss, Greta thinks about how “everything and everything seemed possible. She could fly a helicopter if she wanted to, or play in a game. She could make soap, sweaters, sausages . Maybe a dance?” But Greta’s treachery must come to light eventually, and the novel’s climactic events are, as you might expect, both terrifying and thrilling.

Beagin wrote this book, as he writes all his books, in bed, on his phone’s Notes app, typing with one finger. His writing schedule is idiosyncratic: He does what he calls “phase sleeping,” which means he goes to bed around 9:30 or ten, gets up at three, writes for hours. three, then sleep three more. “I sleep a lot from six to nine. Then I wake up young and write for a few more hours. And then I schedule a few more hours, and that’s it. So I finished at noon soon.

During the two years and change he spent working Switzerland is big, Beagin had to face depression. In fact, before it was an epidemic. Then she found out that she had a large fibroid and it needed to be removed. The Amsterdam stay, which should have been a dream, turned into a bit of a nightmare when the venue changed at the last minute to Anne Frank’s childhood home. “So I was trying to write this hopeful ending to this book, but I was in Anne Frank’s childhood home, and there are people crying at the door all the time.”

Beagin’s estranged father died by suicide the day he submitted the manuscript, tragically echoing the death of Greta’s mother. Beagin found this turn of events shocking, to say the least. I mean, I had written about my father in my previous books, but life was imitating art in a strange, strange new way. He had to reflect on what he had written, whether he had captured the grief correctly. “What I had and what I didn’t make up for, and the ways it didn’t prepare me for the real thing.”

Beagin had barely begun to deal with his loss when his fortunes changed dramatically, again. My dad hadn’t been fired yet, and my Hollywood agent (Ron Bernstein) called and said, ‘Your script got leaked and it’s going around like crazy.'” Actors many celebrities saw themselves playing a meat role. of Greta or Big Swiss: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elisabeth Moss, Laura Dern, and Olivia Colman. Beagin was thrilled when Comer won the rights and brought HBO on board.

For the book itself, Beagin’s progress was $100,000, a respectable number for a book in the middle of the list. If — because these days, nothing is guaranteed until the show airs — the show makes it into a series, Beagin will likely get an advance and receive royalties. But the real money, of course, is the sale of the television itself. Beagin didn’t tell me the exact dollar amount, but he let it change his life. “It will allow me to do what I do, going forward.”

The signs of the show’s progress seem to be good. HBO has been scouting locations around Hudson, including an unheated farmhouse, with Beagin — who will be an executive producer — showing them around. Thinking of casting, Beagin likes Aubrey Plaza for Greta.

Two very attractive young donkeys, Ellington and Pantaloon, are introduced towards the end of the book. In the photo of the author of Beagin, he is standing in front of what appears to be… a small donkey. As you may have noticed, he likes to blur the line between fiction and reality, although the plot of the book is, he hastens to say, very fictional. However, Ellington and Pantaloon? However, Ellington and Pantaloon? Just as he wrote to them: “Beautiful, quiet, and friendly like lap dogs.” Unfortunately, in real life, Ellington met an early end due to a collision with a truck. “It was fun while it lasted, except for Ellington’s death, which was brutal,” Beagin says of his time as a young donkey owner. Pantaloon had to be sent back to the donkey farm so he wouldn’t die of loneliness; young donkeys can only live in pairs. But in the pages of Switzerland is bigEllington and Pantaloon live together forever, laughing, crying, and eating gingerbread from Greta’s hand.

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