Siri Hustvedt is a novelist of great intelligence. She knows the ways of the world and of the heart . . . THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN is a new departure. Despite its painful subject matter - marital rupture, encroaching death, the tormenting antics of malice-ridden girls - the novel is a mordant comedy.
A rich and intelligent meditation on female identity, written in beguiling lyrical prose . . . heady and intoxicating
Hustvedt is a writer of luminous perception
Hustvedt's intensely visual writing spans the generations. She can conjure up a child's realm of imaginary friends as evocatively as the brave face adopted by the elderly living in "a world of continual loss". The story of one woman regaining her own identity, it's by turns funny, moving and erudite, playfully reminding us of a contemporary Jane Austen.
It's a warm, affecting tale about love, loss and finding consolation in female friendship. Hustvedt captures both the absurdity and the tragedy of life
[Mia] is alarmingly funny and her narrative toys with the immediacy of the epistolary novel . . . Events are coupled with commentary, commentary leads into event and temporal sequence is delightfully confused. Such digressive freedom is one of the pleasures of THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN, in which fiction, fantasy, and historical fact are interweaved.
THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN shows a mind alive, at work and boundlessly curious about the way people live and love. It is the kind of book with which to grapple and argue, to challenge and fight, but also with which to engage and at which to marvel.
Siri Hustvedt is an intelligent, intuitive, talented writer
The ideal prescription for those indecisive readers who want a bit of everything in their summer investments.
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 . . . This is distinctly Hustvedt territory, a writer so deeply intuitive and curious that it is in her nature to explore, to disdain subterfuge . . . Hustvedt blends incisive observations with scathing honesty, fearless in pursuit of understanding, a balance between self-love and self-awareness that celebrates the essence of being female. The effluvia of life accumulate with the years, but Hustvedt remains an accurate chronicler of a woman's journey.
Let's hope the book finds its way to the hands of chick-lit consumers, who would be surprised at the witty treatment Hustvedt gives the familiar theme. Maybe that would be the happiest ending of all.
Distinctive and enthralling . . . THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN is satire, full of brilliant disquisitions on all manner of things - the nature of love, the difference between men and women, the question of madness. But it is satire with a heart, a great big glorious heart, and I loved every minute of it.
Like her protagonist, Hustvedt is also a poet whose wry observations about ordinary life are described in breath-taking prose . . . THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN is 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 . . . Indeed, Hustvedt makes clear with this novel the distinction between chick lit and women's literature.
Mia is a quicksilver, engaging guide, who manages to meditate on the nature of womanhood without it sounding like a lecture
THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN's pleasures lie in the precise, lyrical style, the quality of thought and the complexities of the characters.
A wonderful, surprising and elegant read . . . One of the best books I've read this year.