22 May 2013

THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN.

THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN by SIRI HUSTVEDT.

After Mia Fredricksen's husband of thirty years asks for a pause - to
 indulge his infatuation with a young French colleague -  she cracks up (briefly), rages (deeply), then decamps to the prairie home of her childhood to consider her position. It's a familiar scenario, though what transpires in this provocative, mordant and vivacious tragicomedy is anything but predictable.
...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Page 1, there are no chapters): Sometimes after he said the word pause, I went mad and landed in the hospital.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 57): When I listened idly to their talk during the minutes before we began and after I dismissed them, I often felt the girl's speech was interchangeable, without any individuality whatsoever, a kind of herd-speak they had all agreed upon, with the exception of Alice, whose diction was not infected with as many likes and sos, and yet even she fell into the curious and moronic dialect of Early Female.

MY THOUGHTS: May's Reading Group read and just like March I'm afraid it's another nul points from me  (yes, I know, I've rated it 1 on Amazon and GoodReads but that's just because neither site allows for less).

Woman is left by husband after 30 years of marriage (he wants a pause), said woman turns into a lunatic (the authors words and not mine) and, diagnosed with Brief Psychotic Disorder, ends up spending time in a psychiatric hospital before going home where she tutors a group of young girls in poetry ...... so far, so good.

But, pretentious in the extreme - full of philosophising (that I for one could never quite fathom), terrible poetry and, oh, the occasional pen and ink illustration - I'm afraid for me the whole novel lacked any real insight

Not altogether without though. I did quite like the elderly eccentric widows known as the Five Swans but, just as with the rest of the characters, I felt that all of main character Mia's constant musing meant that we never really got to know them as we might have.

At best, a chore to read. At worst? Largely self-indulgent ramblings.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A Reading Group read, alas not a book I shall be buying for our home library.



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12 comments:

Lindsay said...

Thanks for the honest review of this one. I think I've read other reviews from readers who weren't so keen on this one too. I did like a previous book by this author called What I Loved, but I'm not overly keen on reading this one.

Kelly said...

This one turned me off from the very first line on the back cover.

R. Ramesh said...

good one as usual tracy..how u doing? best wishes

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

If I didn't have so many review copies to get through, I would almost be tempted to read this one, just to see if it is as bad as you say!! As it is, I shall trust your judgement and honesty, as always.

I checked out the author's website and to be honest, even that was heavy going.

It sounds as though the best thing about this book, might well be the title!!

Yvonne

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks for the review! Although I do have to admit that first line from the book is very intriguing. :)

Suko said...

The pause that refreshes...hmmm.
Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts on this one. Don't think I'll go out of my way to pick this one up.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

No insight... no not for me. It even sounds like a book where a woman's identity is wrapped up in another. I'm tired of that old trope, but can deal with insight. Brilly review tho!

Bo said...

Well that's other one to add to the skip list.
This is one of the things I love about reading other people's reviews. Not only do I find books I'm interested in that I might not have given another glance at, but I find almost if not just as many books that I need to avoid.
It just goes to show that you can never underestimate the power of an honest review whether positive or negative.
Thanks, Tracy!

Joan Robertson said...

Hiya, thanks for comment about crafty makes , I did make the brooches and charms but didn't,t sell one, bit disappointed over that , but never mind , yes you shall have a France update ASAP

Barbara said...

When I started reading your post, I thought 'this sounds good' but I quickly changed my mind. Thank you for another excellent review, not one for my must-read list!

carol said...

Sounds like one I will happily avoid. Of course, the title didn't even really strike me as something I'd read.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

So sorry this one wasn't better. It sounded like it could be quite good.

As always, I enjoyed your helpful and honest review!