Tag Archives: book


If John Burnside writes well about men, Siri Hustvedt writes well about women. The title The Summer Without Men somehow implies who plays the main role. Men have a presence in this book. A presence that is examined and re-evaluated.
And then there are the women – remarkable in old, middle and young age. A very loving portrayal of what it means to be old and frail is one aspect that I loved about this book. And what it means to have hidden so much in a lifetime, yet to find a  way to tell the story in the end  (in the case of  Abigail – one of the so-called Five Swans). Then there are the changes of perspective. The analysis of „indirect“ emotions (while watching a film) versus „direct emotions“ confronted with the death of a loved one. The dialogue with me, the reader. A woman myself, drawn into the circle in Boden.
After the bout of madness comes Mia’s healing. The only thing I was missing in that process was a female friend from her past. Somehow, that person didn’t seem to exist. Maybe she’ll come after the return to New York. After all, a substantially changed life always invites new people in. Let’s see where it takes the poet and teacher Mia. I liked her. And I liked reading about her circle.

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Family men

I had met the author before I read the book. It was a beautiful summer evening in Berlin. Das Blaue Sofa  – brilliantly hosted by Barbara Wahlster – was taken apart and the discussion began. About the importance of editors. And translators. Social networks were also mentioned. And when we all gathered on the roof of the house to admire the sights and building sites of  ‚Unter den Linden‘, the conversation continued, the story unfolded and I knew what I wanted to read next. A Lie About My Father by John Burnside is one of those books that I won’t forget. It’s honest. It’s fiction and autobiography and it let me choose between the two. It is uncomfortable and heart-warming. It rummages in a family’s entrails and leaves me wondering why it’s so easy to take the wrong turn. And yes – it’s about addiction. Alcohol, other drugs – it’s all there. The mess, the hurt and the betrayals of self and others. And about men who want to hide.

At the beginning, there’s a quote by Patti Smith. I went to her concert the day after ‚Das Blaue Sofa‘.

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Filed under Bücher, Gelesen, Lesung