I read the first book, "The Summer before the Dark" when I was out for the National Day holiday. The story is very short, and around the housewife Kate, around her "going out alone", as well as a trip for thought.
She has a perfect family, and looks of envy. However, since more than 20 years after her marriage with her husband, obviously she hardly can feel love between herself and he husband as original, that is, she is not needed by her husband; her children have begun to grow gradually, and become independent, that is, she is not needed by her children; she becomes dispensable, with a sense of not being needed intensively, which forces her to re-examine herself, however, confusion follows.
She thinks she would find herself from the work, when she re-integrates into the society, however, the work does not bring her satisfaction, even she get so much compliments from others; she imagines to be like her friend Mary, and finds herself by just letting herself indulgent, however, the result remains nothing; she search for the answer from the 19-year-old Maureen: It is was wrong for the original choice to get married? But the problem seems not important, because, for the previous 20 years she has been of envy sound around.
In the end, Kate chooses to return.
I guess the author would like to say that we can never find ourselves from the outside world, and self is only the illusion of ourselves, and the faith with it. In other words, this story seems to have explained the words "God blessed the stupid woman more", for they don’t want to think and search for themselves.
I first read this book in the 90's. I didn't quite like it then. So I started re-reading it on September 2009 but dropped it half way down. I still think it's quite boring. I prefer many of her other novels and short stories.