Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer without Men

Loved this book, loved everything about it.

Hustvedt has created a little gem of a book that I am sure I will return to at some stage in the future to read again. As the title suggests it is a book mainly populated by women, with the protagonist living temporarily back in her hometown after her husband has requested a ‘marital break’. The prose is unflinching in its consideration of the heartbreak caused to a woman on the betrayal of her love and trust by her husband. However, as with all great love stories it builds a realistic portrayal of the woman’s own strengths as she copes with her loss and rises once again into her own skin, rebuilding her faith in herself and in the strengths of women around her. The honesty of the book is wonderful, with beautiful descriptions of the anger of age, the difficulties of married life and the insidious manipulation of teenage girls by teenage girls. It’s a celebration of womanhood in the best possible sense because it looks unflinchingly at our faults, our assets and our idiosyncrasies and leaves us smiling.
The book has several mentions of book clubs, which are well placed because the book would serve as a great catalyst for discussion in any book club. Read this book!

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