Advance reader reviews of The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt.

The Summer Without Men

A Novel

By Siri Hustvedt

The Summer Without Men
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2011,
    192 pages.

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There are currently 20 member reviews
for The Summer Without Men
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  • Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA)

    Don't be mislead by the title...
    Although it begins with what would appear to be the familiar "husband leaves wife for younger woman and look what happens next" scenario, this is no fluffy, escapist, chick-lit stuff. Instead (yes!!) it is an intelligent, well-written, thought-provoking--and often close-to-the-bone--examination of women at various stages in their lives. I'll forgive the one-subplot-too-many (the young neighbor) for the gift Hustvedt gives us in Mia's mother and the other Four Swans.

    I can't remember the last time I read a book with so many out-loud "oh!" moments. Book clubs will find tons to discuss.
  • Irene B. (Denton, TX)

    The summer without men
    A great book. This writer has an understanding of the female mind and how we react to not so pleasant situations - most of the time. I think that she did a great job of depicting the feelings of different age groups. I will read this book again.
  • Mary Beth H. (Hillsborough, NC)

    The Summer Without Men
    "The Summer Without Men" is not only a compelling novel about the lives of women and girls (maiden, mother and crone are all represented in the book), but also a meditation on the art of story-telling and the beauty of language. It's a thought-provoking read and will no doubt appeal to a diverse audience, from book club members to poetry lovers. I thought the plot would be rather formulaic at first (middle aged woman has nervous breakdown after husband leaves her for another woman), but it is so much more than this. It's beautifully written and a great read.
  • Mary M. (Beverly Hills, FL)

    Not a lot of substance
    This slight book is told rather in the fashion of diary entries, and this sense is reinforced because the reader is often addressed as "Dear Reader." (There are also a lot of Jane Austen allusions.) These "entries" veer between straightforward narrative, bits of poetry, letters, verbatim conversations, and long introspective musings. It's actually an interesting and fun way to read a story if you have the patience for it. The narrator is caustic and witty and sublimely sarcastic. But, I never felt particularly drawn to her or to the other characters' lives and issues. None of the women, or girls, is fleshed out enough to offer any real insights. And the title seems a bit misleading; rather than a summer without men, men seem to be a major preoccupation of all the women in the book, one way or another. A book club might enjoy reading and discussing this book, if they wanted to explore the differences between men and women, and whether those differences mean anything.
  • Patricia W. (Richmond, VA)

    The Summer Without Men
    The Summer Without Men may sound like a summer beach read but it clearly isn't. Mia, the narrator, has much going on in her life with her marital problems, her aging mother, her young students. She is in a complicated place and the author talks Mia and her readers through these events quite systematically. There are flaws with most of the characters and they are dealt with sympathetically. The author's storytelling takes us to some equally flawed but satisfying conclusions in the lives of her characters. This wasn't a book that I ordinarily would have read but I am glad that I did.
  • Randi H. (Bronx, NY)

    The Summer Without Men
    The Summer Without Men, by Siri Hustvedt, was not what I expected. The title made me think it would be "chick-lit" or beach reading. It was decidedly not that (not that I complaining). Nor, however, was it a story that was a compelling read. About Mia, whose husband has left her (perhaps temporarily), I never felt fully engaged in Mia's life. Her musings and writings, while interesting, did not necessarily make me feel close to her. Additionally, a number of other characters and stories are introduced in the book that often felt distracting to me. Some, like the next door neighbor, I wanted to learn more about. Others, like an elderly women who made subversive art, seemed rather random and unnecessary additions to the story. Overall, it was not a book that made me want to stay up late reading.
  • Roan H. (New Orleans, LA)

    The Summer Without Men
    I was captured by the first sentence, then the first paragraph of this book. To my disappointment the rest of the book did not meet my expectations. Although this book is beautifully written with its clear and cogent sentences, I was disappointed. There are too many plots in this book; had the author used her talent for prose on the primary plot, this would have been an excellent book.
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