The Summer Without Men

by Siri Hustvedt Fiction

  • US & Canada Picador Books (April 2011, Ed. Frances Coady, 192 pages)
  • UK & Comm Sceptre (Ed. Carole Welch)

"A novelist of great intelligence." The Observer

Mia Fredrickson, the wry, vituperative, tragicomic poet narrator of The Summer Without Men has been forced to re-examine 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 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 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.
The Summer Without Men US cover
A novelist of great intelligence. 

Lisa Appignanesi the Observer

Witty, concise, demanding.

Philip Womack The Telegraph

Lighthearted but not lightweight-a smart, sassy reflection on the varieties of female experience.

Kirkus Reviews

The Summer Without Men is sprightly and frisky, even as it contends with life-and-death subjects.

Maria Russo The New York Times

The Summer without Men is Hustvedt at her most playful, a wonderful synthesis of psychology and philosophy — and a host of other subjects — and it will absolutely absorb you.

Jill Owens Powell's Books

A funny, self-aware exploration of one woman’s inner journey from demoralization to hope as reflected back at her through the eyes of a cross-section of women in every stage of life.

Joanna Goodman The Globe and Mail

The ideal prescription for those indecisive readers who want a bit of everything in their summer investments.

The Economist

Hustvedt is the thinking woman’s writer, arbiter of that netherworld between choice and feeling, an intellectual and fiercely honest historian of the female psyche.

[An] elegant new novel, a smart and surprisingly amusing meditation on love, friendship and sexual politics.

Connie Ogle The Miami Herald

A brisk, ebullient novel.

Sam Sacks Wall Street Journal

Riveting storytelling.

Donna Seaman Booklist

[A] rich and intelligent meditation on female identity, written in beguiling lyrical prose.

Lucy Scholes Sunday Times Review

Digressive freedom is one of the pleasures of The Summer Without Men, in which fiction, fantasy, and historical fact are interweaved.

The Times Literary Supplement

A contemporary Jane Austen.

Daily Mail

[Siri Hustvedt's] finely wrought descriptions of everything from maternal love to mean girls and marital sex make this slim volume well worth reading.

The Associated Press

A powerful and provocative novel that will have astute readers reconsidering where exactly the boundaries between truth and fiction lie.

Stephenie Harrison BookPage

Composed in tight vivid prose, The Summer Without Men is energetic, and handles its subjects with depth and wit, painting its characters and their complex emotions in the kind of detail that rings true to life.