Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


No title

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6155115,832 (3.46)56

Work details

The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt

  1. 10
    A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf (tandah)
    tandah: Reflection on one's existence in relation to others
  2. 00
    Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (thorold)
    thorold: Two novels 160 years apart that explore the roles of women by creating a view of the world in which men are peripheral or irrelevant.
  3. 00
    Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (tandah)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 56 mentions

English (39)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This is the fourth Siri Hustvedt novel I have read, and I can now say that she is consistently readable, thought-provoking and full of ideas. This one at first glance appears to have very little plot, but is packed with sharp and humourous observations on life, love and people's motivations, mixed with a fair bit of philosophy and psychology. It tells the tale of a woman whose husband decides to take a "pause" in their marriage to pursue an affair, while she retreats to her childhood hometown in the mid-West to reflect, recover, and find friendship with a number of women of different ages and backgrounds. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 12, 2015 |
Enjoyed the book. Main character is suffers a mental breakdown triggered by her husband taking a pause in their relationship and moving in with another woman. As the novel progresses, she regains her competency and command of her life
  shvizdos | Jul 27, 2015 |
Hustvedt brings together a kind of 21st century Mrs Herzog with the old "maiden, mother and crone" canard to take an ironic look at some of the ways gender identities still define the lives of middle-class middle-American women, and at the creative ways in which women sometimes manage to subvert those definitions. It's a very clever novel, full of interesting ideas and more-or-less buried literary allusions (not to mention poems, parodies of poems, emails, and Stevie-Smith-style pen-drawings), but it's doesn't come over as a philosophical mind-stretcher like the other two of her novels I've read: more like very superior chick-lit (for literature graduates and above). If Mrs Gaskell were still around and living in the Midwest instead of Cheshire, this is what she might have written instead of Cranford... ( )
1 vote thorold | Jul 20, 2015 |
I loved that there were so many well-drawn characters in this book. There was Abigail, the octogenarian who embroidered art secretly in pockets and linings of her clothes; Mr. Nobody, a character who presents himself anonymously to Mia to criticize her at first and later to engage her intellectually; there is Lola, Mia's neighbor who perseveres with two children and a husband who may be censored or pitied; there is Mia's junior high girls' poetry group, which forms a bullying coven against one of its members. In the end, Hustvedt, in the midst of feminist monologues, treats them all with grace, understanding, and good humor. ( )
1 vote WintersRose | Nov 30, 2014 |
Mia Fredrickson, a middle-aged experimental poet, is told by Boris, her husband of thirty years, that he wants a pause from their marriage. After a brief psychotic break which leads to a stay in a psychiatric facility, she leaves New York for her hometown in Minnesota. For the summer she becomes immersed in an all-female world: she teaches a poetry class to seven tween girls, gets to know the Five Swans, her mother’s feisty octogenarian friends, and becomes acquainted with a neighbour, a mother with two young children. Feeling that she has lost her identity, she tries to find herself by connecting with other women.

Mia, the narrator, offers numerous digressions about her life, both past and present, and personal musings on psychology, philosophy and literature. Sometimes the name-dropping of great thinkers just seemed pretentious, especially since Mia seems to spend more time examining philosophies than her own emotions and options. She claims to have “drowned in anger and grief” (182), but there is little of those raw feelings exposed.

Though plot is not the major element of a novel for me, the lack of action makes the book tedious. Half way through, Mia addresses the reader directly and promises, “There will be ACTION” (105). At that point, I wanted to scream, “Yes, please!” The author obviously recognized a deficiency in the first half of the book, but did nothing to rectify it. Several references are made to literary devices (deus ex machina, chronology) followed by explanations of why she choose to use or not use them. Such discussions only slow the already slow pace.

One of my major problems with the book is that I never connected with Mia. I couldn’t identify with her and didn’t really care about her. Perhaps the issue is that she is just too passive. She has let life happen to her and she has let Boris take charge of what happens in their marriage; there is never any doubt that she will take Boris back should the opportunity arise . Not once does she consider choices she can make now that Boris has excused himself from their marital relationship. She speaks of marriage as an entanglement: “our bodies and thoughts and memories had gotten themselves so tangled up that it was hard to see where one person’s ended and the other’s began” (215). She never really considers even trying to untangle herself.

Also in terms of characterization is the issue that the many other female characters fail to emerge as individuals. Aside from Abigail, the Five Swans blend into each other. The seven pre-adolescents are also largely indistinguishable. I love novels focusing on character, and the lack of differentiation really bothered me. Actually, there seemed a very concerted effort to touch on every stage of a woman’s life: toddler, adolescent, mother, widow. A variety of girls/women represent various aspects of the contemporary female experience: heterosexual/homosexual and married/divorced/never married and bully/victim. Because the females serve primarily to illustrate some aspect of womanhood, they are more symbols than people.

There is a heavy-handedness to the author’s examination of the conflict between the imaginary and the real: “I mediated for a moment on the imaginary and the real, on wish fulfillment, on fantasy, on stories we tell ourselves about ourselves” (103). She concludes that “none of us can ever untangle the knot of fictions that make up that wobbly thing we call a self” (188), but relationships can only work if “The unreal no longer occludes the real” (164). That everyone has hidden stories and sometimes represses aspects of one’s personality is hardly an original observation.

These weaknesses do not mean that there are no good points in the book. There are scenes, the episodes with Abigail for example, which stand out. The wordplay is often witty: “Can I really blame Boris for his Pause, for his need to seize the day, for snatching the pausal snatch” (135). Unfortunately, these strengths do not sufficiently redeem the book for me.

I expected a woman’s personal journey to find herself to be more personal and less an intellectual exercise. ( )
1 vote Schatje | May 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Here, although the subject matter is serious - a woman's search for her lost identity - the tempo is upbeat. In a narrative without chapter breaks, Hustvedt explores the idea that differences between the genders is less important than "how much difference the difference makes".
Hustvedt creates a voice for Mia that is witty, concise, demanding; delighted by the concordances of sounds in words, compassionate and aware of its own faults. Hustvedt shows us Mia as she stumbles through the female relationships around her, all painted in with a wry eye.
Velment, men ikke helt vellykket
Siri Hustvedt er med sitt navn og sine aner liksom litt norsk, selv om hun er oppvokst i Minnesota og nå bor i Brooklyn. Hun skriver sine bøker på engelsk, og de oversettes til mange språk, deriblant norsk. Hennes siste roman er velment, men ikke udelt vellykket.
added by annek49 | editNRK, Anne Cathrine Straume (Mar 22, 2011)
Spenstig om kvinneliv
Siri Hustvedts nye roman «Sommeren uten menn» har en overraskende letthet kombinert med en intellektuell spenst og vitalitet som synes å ha blitt forfatterens varemerke.
Siri Hustvedt byr på mye humor og mye klok menneskelig innsikt i denne nye og tynne lille romanen på drøye 200 sider. Med utgangspunkt i en utroskapshistorie av den svært konvensjonelle og slitesterke typen: Middelaldrende ektemann vil ha en pause fra sitt 30-årige fellesliv med sin kone Mia for å dyrke sin nye franske og unge lidenskap, stiger det fram en fortelling om kvinneliv i flere generasjoner. Det hele fortalt med omtanke og omsorg, med brutalt klarsyn og med høyt refleksjonsnivå
added by annek49 | editDagsavisen, Turid Larsen (Mar 16, 2011)
Er det mulig å tilgi en utro ektemann?
Siri Hustvedt har skrevet en sjeldent god bok ANMELDELSE: Når jeg leser en bok, setter jeg alltid eselører ved de sidene der jeg finner noe virkelig godt. I «Sommeren uten menn» kunne jeg gjerne hatt flere på hver eneste side. For dette er en sjeldent god bok
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Mar 14, 2011)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
LUCY (Irene Dunne): You're all confused, aren't you?
JERRY (Cary Grant): Uh-huh. Aren't you?
JERRY: Well, you should be, because you're wrong about things being different because they're not the same. Things are different, except in a different way. You're still the same, only I've been a fool. Well, I'm not now. So, as long as I'm different, don't you think things could be the same again? Only a little different.

- "The Awful Truth"
directed by Leo McCarey
screenplay by Viña Delmar
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
For Frances Cohen
First words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Sometime after he said the word "pause", I went mad and landed in the hospital.
Last words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Mia is forced to reexamine her life when her husband puts their marriage on "pause" after thirty years. She returns to the prairie town of her childhood, and is drawn into the lives of those around her.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 avail.
30 wanted
6 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.46)
0.5 1
1 3
2 30
2.5 6
3 51
3.5 41
4 58
4.5 14
5 24


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 108,323,642 books! | Top bar: Always visible