A young woman’s intellectual and erotic awakening, along with a perpetually sleeping baby, lie at the center of Esty G. Haim’s Summer. The protagonist of this quiet and compelling story is a babysitter placed in charge of an infant belonging to her charming and chic Belgian neighbor. However no one is in charge of her; she has essentially been abandoned by her brother, who went
off to the kibbutz to lose his virginity, and by her father, who must care for her unstable mother. These two losses - the sexual and psychological - permeate the story like the ripples in the warm air that are so deftly described.
The protagonist consumes everything with insatiable voraciousness - whether it is books, the wine poured by her neighbor, Belgian chocolates, or the attention and empathy offered to her by the older woman. She is magically drawn to her neighbor; to the mothering that she yearns for and lacks, which is further enabled due to the ostensible absence of the silent baby, and to an enticing form of mature womanhood, which is enabled due to the real absence of the neighbor’s husband. The story hums with melancholy and unrealized longing, and the latter is given a small window of opportunity, one that is simultaneously threatening and desired, carrying with it the scent of coconut oil and freedom. The author sets it all within an implicit family trauma, which contains the story and imprisons its lonely protagonist.