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The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt

Recently added byprivate library, Lman, Owdormer, SarahHayes, maryhollis, ELAERTS, dwbbks, miss.mesmerized, Bella2786
  1. 10
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    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)
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English (42)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (55)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
A wry, witty, intelligent novel. ( )
  maryhollis | Feb 20, 2017 |
If you enjoyed Nora Ephron's HEARBURN, then you may very well like Siri Hustvedt's THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN. In fact, Mia, the narrator of this book would have a lot in common with Rachel Samstat. The book begins with The Pause - after a 30+ year marriage, the narrator's husband decides that he wants a trial separation so that he can enjoy the attentions of a much younger woman. Sent into a rage, Mia eventually spends some time in a psychiatric hospital and continues to process her breakdown during the summer months that follow.

Mia sublets a house near her elderly mother in Minnesota, and befriends her mother's friends (The Swans) and her neighbor Lola. Siri Hustvedt does a marvelous job of enlivening and enlightening the lives of women who, all too often, are cast aside because of their advanced age. These women are not sitting in rocking chairs, knitting blankets or sweaters, nor are they playing incessant rounds of BINGO. They hold a regular book club, and are rather infamous among the other residents of the Independent Living community. They are vibrant, saucy, funny women who have led colorful and deep lives. One of the women is so driven to occupy her mind, after a divorce, that she joins a sewing group and stitches explicit scenes into the linings of her clothes. Lola has a tumultuous and verbally abusive relationship with her husband, which affects their two young children.

During the summer, Mia - a writer - teaches a short poetry course to a group of middle-school girls in the local area. When one of the students is ostracized and bullied by the other girls, the narrator is forced to come to terms with her own childhood experiences of bullying and fear. She also helps the girls learn empathy through poetry, and everyone has a transformative experience.

Possibly as a result of her mental instability, Mia writes the book with a very self-conscious and self-deprecating tone. The book is generally written in third person, but there are large sections where the reader is addressed directly. This has the effect of reminding the reader that he/she is not actually living the experience along with Mia, and gives it a sense of "breaking the fourth wall" as might happen in theater, movies, or television. It was a bit jarring at first, but eventually became a source of lightheartedness and reprieve.

While I enjoyed the story, and the narrative voice, I couldn't help but guess, early on, how the book would end. Despite its predictability, the characterization was lovely and her depictions of both the elderly and teenagers was a delight. It was an enjoyable reading experience, and I look forward to reading more of Siri Hustvedt's fiction and non-fiction in the future. ( )
  BooksForYears | Jan 29, 2017 |
Beautifully written novel, but sometimes feels like the writer is trying too hard to show readers how intellectual she is with all the little philosophical asides. Overall a worthwhile read.

Favorite quotes:

"Time is not outside us, but inside. Only we live with past, present, and future, and the present is too brief to experience anyway; it is retained afterward and then it is either codified or it slips into amnesia. Consciousness is the product of delay." (33)

"All at once, I felt sad for the whole lot of us human beings, as if I had suddenly been transported skyward and, like some omniscient narrator in a nineteenth-century novel, were looking down on the spectacle of flawed humanity and wishing things could be different, not wholly different, but different enough to spare some of us a little pain here and there. This was a modest wish, surely, not some utopian fantasy, but the wish of a sane narrator who shakes her red head with its slices of gray and mourns deeply, mourns because it is right to mourn the endless repetitions of meanness and violence and pettiness and hurt." (133) ( )
  Mon_Ro | Feb 20, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (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)
 
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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?
LUCY: No.
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
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For Frances Cohen
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Sometime after he said the word "pause", I went mad and landed in the hospital.
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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.

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