Book Review: The Summer Without Men

The Summer Without MenThe Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

One day Mia Fredrickson’s husband Boris tells her that he wants to take a “pause” after thirty years of marriage. This sends Mia into a tailspin and she ends up in a psychiatric hospital. After her release, she moves into a rented house for the summer in the same town where her mother lives in a retirement home. She spends time with her mother and her friends, her neighbor and her two small children and the seven teenage girls who are taking the poetry workshop she teaches.

This novel had a unique style that took some getting used to. Much of it is Mia’s internal rambling and musings that are tangential to the plot. As the book goes on, Mia gets funnier and becomes friendlier with the reader, addressing us as Dear Reader and asking for our patience with her ramblings. Mia’s internal thoughts are so realistic and intimate that I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and not a memoir.

Mia is a poet and an intellectual and the book is full of literary references that went over my head. Even so it was still an enjoyable read once I got used to the different style.

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(I received this book courtesy of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)