Rated of 5
by Shawna L. (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt
Mia Fredrickson describes herself as a “madwoman” after her husband Boris requests a “pause” in their relationship. The "pause" is a much younger French woman. She is intelligent and attractive with “significant breasts that were real”. Alone for the first time in years Mia feels like her life is has been missing something. Soon she will find out just what that something is.
All alone and without her husband Mia becomes drawn into the lives of those around her. Her mother, with her group of Motherly female friends, provides a constant source of support for Mia, but also gives her a poignant look into the future. Her daughter Daisy is full of the youthful exuberance Mia has lost somewhere down the line during the last 55 years.
The family next door suffice as Mia's daily soap opera with their slamming doors and loud hideous swearing. After another stormy night the abusive husband leaves and Mia offers her neighbor Lola comfort and solace in her home.
As Mia begins to deal with her own loss and finding that something she is missing. A class of seven teenage girls await her. They are full of all the viciousness and ugliness that is so prevalent in pubescent girls. Mia's poetry workshop turns out to be the perfect environment for the emergence of ghoulish behavior she has been missing and needing in her life.
This is a sophisticated and complex novel. There are phrases that have to be read again just for their sheer depth and beauty.
The Summer Without Men is a story for women about women or men who don't understand women. Mia and Lola both suffer mistreatment at the hands of the men in theirs lives. However the men are insignificant in this novel. Ultimately it is about the strength of women and their ability to draw strength from each other. They are able piece together the missing parts of their lives they didn't know they had lost.