March 28, 2011

The Summer Without Men - Siri Hustvedt

Firstly, can I just say how much I love the cover of this book - so simple and yet very effective. I found myself turning to look at it at random times throughout my reading. Which is not to say that the book is not an absorbing read!

The Summer Without Men is the story of Mia - a middle aged woman whose husband has just told her he would like to take a "pause" in their 30 year marriage to explore a relationship with a much younger colleague. Mia does not take the announcement well and she spends some time in a psychiatric hospital after Boris's decision sends her into a psychotic depression.

When Mia leaves hospital she decides to temporarily move to the town where she grew up as a child to get some distance from her life with Boris and to continue to write and teach poetry. While in the small town of Bonden Mia spends time with her ageing mother and her variety of friends, she teaches the craft of poetry and life lessons to a group of adolescent girls and she connects with a young mother and her two children living in the house next door to her. Mia refers to this part of her life as "the Yawn between Crazed Winter and Sane Fall".

The book is told from Mia's perspective and at times it can feel very insular and indulgent - I didn't particularly find the sections where Mia shares some of her poetry very enlightening for example. But the parts of the book where Mia talks about her relationships and the new connections she is making (especially with the woman next door and her mother) I could have read so much more of. There is a growth and a discovery process going on for Mia over the the course of the novel and it is great to be able to see this take place - the narrative form of the book almost makes it feel as though you are a part of this process also.

I loved this story for it's focus on women and the relationships we form - both good and not so good.


Sabrina said...

Thanks for the review. I read What I loved by Siri Hustvedt some years ago and loved it. It is still one of my top twenty reads. The complexity of relationships Hustvedt portrays is really grabbing. On my tbr it goes.

Audra said...

Siri Hustvedt's The Blindfold was one of the most twisted things I've ever read -- I'm not sure I could handle her take on a woman's (failing?) marriage. Still -- your review has me totally considering it!

Steph said...

I seriously *just* finished this book, so I was so happy to see your post pop up in my reader. This was my first Hustvedt novel, but it will definitely not be my last. I thought it was so intelligent, so powerful, so brave and honest. Loved it very much, and I can't wait to spread the word about its greatness!

Nadia said...

Sounds like an interesting story. I've never read anything by Hustevdt, so I'd be interested in giving this book a read. I'll definitely be adding it to my Kindle. Thanks!

JoAnn said...

Definitely sounds like a book I'd enjoy... and what a great cover!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This is a new to me author, and the book does sound interesting. I may need to look into Siri Hustvedt a little more.

Karen said...

Hi Sabrina - I haven't read that one of hers yet but I will definitely get to it soon. She is such a classy writer!

Hi Audra - I think I have managed to steer clear of her more twisted books so far!!

Hi Steph - So glad to hear that you loved it too! Intelligent and powerful are definitely words I would use to describe this one too.

Hi Nadia - This is quite a short novel too so it would probably be a good one to start with to see if you like this author.

Hi JoAnn - I think this is one of my top 10 book covers of all time!

Hi Holly - I hope you check her out!

Anonymous said...

Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my web site thus
i came to return the desire?.I'm attempting to in finding things to improve my website!I assume its adequate to use a few of your ideas!!

Here is my website :: raspberry ketones diet
Also see my web page > raspberry ketone diet

Anonymous said...

I loved as much as you'll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

Also visit my weblog; SEOPressor

Anonymous said...

Very good blog post. I certainly appreciate this site.
Continue the good work!

My blog post: acoustic guitar chord

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go
for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm totally confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

Feel free to visit my website:

Anonymous said...

Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this
blog loading? I'm trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Visit my web page ...

Anonymous said...

I comment whenever I like a post on a site or I have something to
add to the conversation. Usually it's a result of the passion communicated in the post I browsed. And on this post "The Summer Without Men - Siri Hustvedt". I was moved enough to leave a leave a responsea response :) I do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it just me or do a few of the comments come across like they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at additional places, I would like to keep up with you. Could you list every one of all your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Here is my web page -

Anonymous said...

Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

my site ... Water Vacuum On Tv

Anonymous said...

Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you know afterward you can write if not it is difficult to write.

Visit my web site jack lalane power juicer

Anonymous said...

No matter if some one searches for his required thing, so he/she needs
to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

Feel free to visit my web blog;

Anonymous said...

Hello there, There's no doubt that your site could possibly be having web browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, great blog!

Here is my web site;