The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt
A Novel

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Synopsis

"And who among us would deny Jane Austen her happy endings or insist that Cary Grant and Irene Dunne should get back together at the end of The Awful Truth? There are tragedies and there are comedies, aren't there? And they are often more the same than different, rather like men and women, if you ask me. A comedy depends on stopping the story at exactly the right moment." Mia Fredrickson, the wry, vituperative, tragic comic, poet narrator of The Summer Without Men, has been forced to reexamine her own life. One day, out of the blue, after thirty years of marriage, Mia’s husband, a renowned neuroscientist, asks her for a “pause.” This abrupt request sends her reeling and lands her in a psychiatric ward. The June following Mia’s release from the hospital, she returns to the prairie town of her childhood, where her mother lives in an old people’s home. Alone in a rented house, she rages and fumes and bemoans her sorry fate. Slowly, however, she is drawn into the lives of those around her—her mother and her close friends,“the Five Swans,” and her young neighbor with two small children and a loud angry husband—and the adolescent girls in her poetry workshop whose scheming and petty cruelty carry a threat all their own.

From the internationally bestselling author of What I Loved comes a provocative, witty, and revelatory novel about women and girls, love and marriage, and the age-old question of sameness and difference between the sexes.


 

About Siri Hustvedt

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Siri Hustvedt was born in 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. She has a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English literature and is the internationally acclaimed author of five novels, The Sorrows of an American, What I Loved, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, The Blindfold, and The Summer Without Men, as well as a growing body of nonfiction including, A Plea for Eros and Mysteries of the Rectangle, and an interdisciplinary investigation of the body and mind in The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves. She has given lectures on artists and theories of art at the Prado, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2011, she delivered the thirty-ninth annual Freud Lecture in Vienna.She lives in Brooklyn.
 
Published April 26, 2011 by Picador. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Summer Without Men

Kirkus Reviews

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She’s become close to her mother’s 94-year-old friend Abigail, whose subversive handicrafts display images of rage and sexuality that speak to Mia of every frustration in her long marriage.

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The New York Times

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While her husband pursues an affair, this sprightly novel’s heroine becomes immersed in an all-female world.

Apr 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book ...

Jul 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Guardian

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(Those superior verbal skills Edward O Wilson ascribes to women must explain, Mia sarcastically notes, "why women have dominated the literary arts for so long".) Particular pleasure is to be found in the "secret amusements" of Mia's mother's friend Abigail, a queen of appliqué and embroidery who ...

Mar 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Guardian

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Mia Fredrickson is a prize-winning poet in her 50s, a university lecturer, and mother to a budding actress.

Feb 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Though initially trapped in a claustrophobic cerebral solitude, Mia opens up, and, in so doing, lets in some much needed air to a constricted narrative, so that instead of being another novel of a woman on the brink, this becomes an adroit take on love, men and women, and girls and women.

Feb 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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The author's latest novel teems with emotion as a middle-aged poet struggles to deal with a rocky period in her life by going back to her childhood home.

Jun 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Telegraph

Mia, the narrator of Siri Hustvedt’s quirky new novel, is a poet – well, she has published a few collections through a small press.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: A perceptive, clever book.

Mar 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

Scotsman.com

A middle-aged woman – sensitive Mia – is dumped by her husband.

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

The Miami Herald

“The transience of human feeling is nothing short of ludicrous,” muses the wry poet Mia early on in Siri Hustvedt’s elegant new novel, a smart and surprisingly amusing meditation on love, friendship and sexual politics.

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AP/Press of Atlantic City

Her recent interest in brain science shows up here - Boris and his paramour are both neuroscientists - but ultimately the story belongs to poet Mia, with her fanciful imagination, razor-sharp observations and captivating way with words.

May 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

Curtis Brown

Slowly, however, she is drawn into the lives of those around her - her mother and her close friends 'The Five Swans', and her young neighbour with two small children and a loud angry husband - and the adolescent girls in her poetry workshop whose scheming and petty cruelty carry a threat all thei...

| Read Full Review of The Summer Without Men: A Novel

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