The Summer Without Men: When a Woman gets Re-Introduced to Herself

This week, Siri Hustvedt takes us into the mind of a woman overcoming the most shocking moment of her life.

I really enjoyed this book. The bright yellow cover caught my eye one day on my way to lunch, and I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I am glad that I did. The book is short, yet the messages and lessons that Mia (the narrator of the story) learns are ones that we can learn from as well as readers, as women, as mothers, as wives, as friends and as men who want to know what goes on in women’s heads!

The book is pretty much a conversation that you would have with yourself in your head, only put on paper. It jumps around from topic to topic. You meet many different characters and see how they relate not only to the narrator, but also to one another. There are no chapters in this book. Instead, each though it broken up by a simple paragraph break. It’s nice! It’s what we do everyday on the way to work, on the way to the store, or even on the way to the bathroom. We reflect on our past and we wonder about our future. We go through situations over and over to think of how we could have handled them differently and we smile when the warm thoughts of our accomplishments or good deeds pass through our minds again.

Mia is left with a severe, yet short-lived break from reality one summer when her husband of thirty years tells her that he wants a pause…a pause in the form of a twenty-year younger co-worker he wants to explore more out of the office! She winds up in a mental hospital for a brief period of time as she comes to terms with what this break means for her. After her release, she goes back to her home town and spends the summer teaching young girls a poetry class and visiting with her mother, who is in an assisted living home. The memories and new friends that Mia makes while there, helps her realize that even if Boris (the husband on the Pause) doesn’t realize it, she has a lot of life left in her! 

This book was a quick read (its only 182 pages) and a memorable read. It helps us realize that no matter what age we may be, everyone has their triumphs and struggles. The trick to overcoming these struggles, and having more triumphs, is to remember that we  have to keep getting up, no matter how many times we may fall.

This book is available in normal format at these public libraries:

It can also be ordered through Interlibrary Loan from any of the participating SWAN libraries.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »