Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Summer Without Men

The Summer Without Men
By: Siri Hustvedt

Inner front cover: Out of the blue, your husband of thirty years asks you for a pause in your marriage to indulge his infatuation with a young Frenchwoman. Do you:
a) assume it's a passing affair and play along
b) angrily declare the marriage over
c) crack up
d) retreat to a safe haven and regroup?
Mia Fredricksen cracks up at first, then decamps for the summer to the prairie town of her childhood, where she rages, fumes, and bemoans her sorry fate as abandoned spouse. But little by little, she is drawn into the lives of those around her: her mother and her circle of feisty widows; her young  neighbour, with two small children and a loud angry husband; and the diabolical pubescent girls in her poetry class. By the end of summer without men, wiser though definitely not sadder, Mia knows what she wants to fight for and on whose terms.

I am so glad this is a short book! I could not focus at all because of the way it was written, the only parts of the book that I found interesting was the ones about Abigail, and Flora. Abigail has some really interesting secret embroideries and Flora is just a funny little child dealing with her parent's arguing in her own way...

The book is written as if the main character is talking to the reader, in some places it does actually say "dear reader.." There are no chapters in the book, only paragraph breaks, which is fine because the book is so short, but the paragraphs are quite long in some places and for me the way the book was written made it very boring, I almost fell asleep at some points!

The things that happened in the book was quite interesting when I think about it now that I'm finished reading it, Mia experiences a lot during her summer without men and to see how she deals with it, as well as dealing with her husband's Pause, is interesting, but the way it's written is just dull and annoying.

I did like one sentence in the book: "...only the most hard-hearted among us have no use for mush or blarney or those old ballads about lost and dead lovers..." page 214

I will not keep this book, I picked it up at a BookCrossing zone, and it will go back there the next time I'm in the city.

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