Monday, 1 August 2016

Book Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The AwakeningThe Awakening by Kate Chopin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This famous novel of martial infidelity still packs a punch more than a hundred years on. It starts sedately, with an unhappy wife slowly becoming aware of the source of her unhappiness while vacationing on an island off the Louisiana coast. She attracts the attentions of a young man who attaches himself to her and shows her far more affection than her aloof husband.
The landscape and society of the time of described in rich Victorian detail. While this style can get tedious, this is a short novel and I never felt I was being slowed down. In fact, amid all the social pleasantries and beautiful sunsets, there's a rising tension within the protagonist that keeps the story moing forward.
It's hard to say much more without adding spoilers, but suffice it to say that while the vacation ends, the protagonist's disconent doesn't. But what's a married mother of two to do in that time (or even ours)? Finally she takes action, and that leads to a rapid series of events that will change her life and draws her to an inevitable conclusion.
Beautifully written, haunting, and sad. A true classic.

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Sioux said...

I keep meaning to read something of Kate Chopin's. (I saw the movie "The Piano" if that counts, and I loved it.) Perhaps this is the nudge I needed?

Hart Johnson said...

Funny, I know I've read this, but a LONG time ago. I really just don't remember any of this. I do remember though, from my American Lit class that sex wasn't invented until the 19th century, so I'm sure this was quite contemporary *shifty* (man, my friend and I used to giggle like mad in that class because the teacher would say stuff like that with a straight face)

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