Summer Reading by Hilma Wolitzer
A Novel

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Synopsis

Can reading change your life?

Following her acclaimed novel The Doctor’s Daughter, award-winning author Hilma Wolitzer has now written a stirring tale about friendship, romance, inspiration, longing, and, especially, the love of good books. Summer Reading offers a seductive glimpse into the intersecting lives of three very different women.

Summer in the Hamptons means crowded beaches during the day and lavish parties in the evening, but Angela Graves, a retired English professor, prefers the company of Gabriel García Márquez and Charlotte Brontë. Her only steady social contacts are with the women in the reading groups she leads, among them, is wealthy Lissy Snyder, a beautiful newlywed who hosts the twice-monthly meetings of the Page Turners and takes pains to hide a reading disability and her emotional neediness. Hamptons local Michelle Cutty, Lissy’s housecleaner, eavesdrops on the group’s discussions–of books and gossip–when she’s not snooping through Lissy’s closets.

All three women secretly struggle with troubling personal issues that threaten the tenuous balance of their lives: Lissy, abandoned by her father in childhood, is now the unwilling stepmother of her husband’s hostile children; Michelle, resentful of the moneyed arrogance of the jet-setting, seasonal “invaders,” can’t secure a commitment from her fisherman boyfriend; and solitary, bookish Angela still bears the shameful memory of a disastrous love affair that took place long ago.

As Angela encourages the Page Turners to identify with the literary heroines of Trollope and Flaubert, the books–in fact, the act of reading itself–will influence the tough choices the women must make. Stunningly evocative and richly imagined, Summer Reading explores the meaning and consequences of living an authentic life.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Hilma Wolitzer

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Hilma Wolitzer is the author of several novels, including Summer Reading, The Doctor's Daughter, Hearts, Ending, and Tunnel of Love, as well as a nonfiction book, The Company of Writers. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, New York University, and Columbia University.
 
Published May 22, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 290 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Summer Reading

Kirkus Reviews

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Lissy, meanwhile, is haunted by murky memories of her childhood nanny’s sudden death, and flustered by her attraction to an inept magician who has stalked her ever since she hired him while performing her hobby job, party planner.

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The New York Times

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As readers, the Page Turners don’t rise to any sustained perceptions or transformative epiphanies, but unexpected nudges from books do help set each of the three heroines on inner-sleuthing missions reminiscent of the more somber one in Wolitzer’s last novel, “The Doctor’s Daughter.” Everyone do...

Jun 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Summer Reading: A Novel

Book Reporter

Wolitzer's breezy, smart tone is a joy to read, but somewhere I lost interest in Lissy's selfish needs and her inability to help others, Michelle's desire for the rank Hank --- a seemingly boorish guy who doesn't deserve her --- and Angela's need to dredge up the past in order to survive her lone...

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Summer Reading: A Novel

Reader Rating for Summer Reading
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