The summer without men by Siri Hustvedt

As my April to August book catch-up goes on and on, as I remember more stuff I’ve read, I’ve decided to just go for one book per post. That way, whenever I think of a book, hey presto, I shoot off a little post about it, without racking my brains trying to think what else I’ve forgotten…

This one was recommended to me by my work book club colleague, who had also recommended The ballad of the sad cafe, by Carson McCullers. Whereas I had thought that one too nasty, The summer without men, whilst not strictly speaking a bundle of laughs, was one I really enjoyed. 

If I said to you: menopausal woman going through marital crisis teaches a poetry writing course to a group of mostly catty adolescent girls,  you might think “uh-oh”, well, un-think that thought. High on oestrogen, certainly, introspective, yes but everything sensitively handled and quite convincing. The “I’m too angry to be self-pitying and I’m damn well going to be heard” flavour helped turn what could have been depicted as one long wail into a journey of discovery, to coin a rather trite phrase.

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