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At Fault: Scholarly Edition W/Background Readings

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  228 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Celebrated for her depictions of life among Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun peoples, Kate Chopin (1850–1904) is today seen as a major figure in southern literature. Her short stories and her last novel, The Awakening (1899), are widely read and studied. Unjustly neglected, however, is her first novel, At Fault, which Chopin published in 1890 at her own expense. This edition o ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2001 by Univ Tennessee Press (first published January 1890)
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Diane S ☔
Last time I read Chopin was back in high school and I have no intention of stating how long ago that was. I do remember liking her short stories. This book was the first she wrote, couldn't find a publisher so she published it herself. Post reconstruction, Louisianan, Therese finds herself a widow at a young age and in charge of a plantation. She meets Hossmer, a businessman, who will run the mill. A decision will be made that will have lasting and detrimental effect.

Racial tensions, Catholic be
Kyle McGuire
The plot is about a woman who is left in charge of a plantation and gets involved with a businessman and has to do deal with the consequences. It didn’t seem realistic to me because it took place in the 1800s and women didn’t really have rights back then. There was some racism in the book that really showed how people were treated back then because the books setting takes place in the 1800s. There were a lot of characters in the book and the main character is a catholic woman who shows a lot of ...more
Jenny Yates
In this Louisiana novel, published in 1890, Therese Lafirme is a young widow who is doing an able job running a plantation. David Hosmer, who runs the sawmill, falls in love with her, and she’s beginning to return his affection. But Therese is also a devout Catholic, and when she finds that David has been divorced, she persuades him that the right thing to do is to back and try again to make a life with his ex-wife.

David follows this advice, remarries Fanny (who is an alcoholic) and brings her
lee lee
again, not the edition i have. but the book's the same. right? i read this book directly after reading the awakening because that's what i do: read all books by an author (or as many as i can get my hands on) who has written one book that i really like. the edition i have is very small and square and a sky-blueish color. i remember that kate could not get anyone to publish this book because its heroin was divorced, so she published it herself and only put out 100 copies. i'm sure it put her and ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The Awakening is my favorite book, so I may be partial to Kate Chopin's work, but I did enjoy this book all in one day. She questions conventional morality and I have great appreciation for that. Even now, this book is relevant.
Jun 03, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
May Critique

Set back in the late 1800s and in the deep south of Louisiana, the story At Fault by Kate Chopin, tells the tale of multiple people whose lives have found a way to intermingle with one another. Thérèse Lafirme, a new widow, has been left in charge of her plantation and David Hosmer, a divorced man, had made a business agreement with Thérèse leading to unsuspected feelings and harsh consequences. These two, as well as Hosmer’s sister and Thérèse’s nephew, have been entangled in a net
Apr 10, 2012 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is just not good. There is an amateurish quality to Kate Chopin's writing that is very obvious in this book, and unforunately never quite went away over time, even to her last book "The Awakening."

The story plods along with a very dull pace. The main characters are hardly developed at all, and eventually become overshadowed by secondary characters that we are dumped upon with heaps of information. You can't like the characters because you know barely anything about them, and they are l
Page Quinton
"At Fault" is really quite a disappointment after reading Chopin's more famous work "The Awakening". Having read the latter during my high school career it soon become one of my favorites; not only for the interesting story but the imagery invoked throughout the read and the depth of character development. "At Fault" sadly pales in comparison for its, quite frankly, boring plot and seemingly dull prose. The imagery, though at times descent, holds nothing to "The Awakening" and is not of a notewo ...more
Feb 08, 2017 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Terribly, terribly racist. Other than that it was okay.
Not as good as The Awakening, but then, this was her first. Considering that this was written in 1890, it is quite remarkable. Set in the bayou region of Louisiana, and St. Louis, the book deals with divorce, adultery, murder, female alcoholism, racism, civil war, arson, drowning, marriage dominated by hate, and marriage filled with love. The ending is kind of corny, but I got over it because it was the end. One advantage of reading an author with such a small oeuvre is that you can have some in ...more
I enjoyed this story. Early on I could pretty much tell what was going to happen (which was not the case with The Awakening), but that didn't hinder my liking of the book. I was amazed by how different the book was from The Awakening, which was written later. Even though some unfortunate events transpired, I knew it would turn out okay and I felt no remorse for those who ended badly. (I felt a sense of impending doom while reading The Awakening.) At Fault didn't give me nearly as much to think a ...more
May 19, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book a lot because I remember liking The Awakening when I read it a long time ago. But then I thought it's not really fair to compare the two; however, even standing alone At Fault is just ok at best. I think it actually deserves two stars, but I gave it a third just because of the courage Chopin had to write and self-publish this (and I'm always about independent women doing their own thing). My major gripe with this book was the way Chopin wrote the dialogue for any perso ...more
Failed to capture my attention; thus, it has been abandoned. Full review to follow.
Jun 11, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book out of nostalgia for Awakening which as I recall I thought was a perfect novel. But this effort isn't nearly as interesting even as the major themes remain the same. I am drawn to the early feminist view of women holding property and running businesses. I like that women can follow their hearts even when divorce is frowned on. The writing is strong with beautiful dialect that remains consistent throughout the novel. Not enough authors can do that. I just found this a slog and no ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Bri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book swept me away to this other wonderful world. The setting was brilliantly set. I could totally see it in my mind. But the characters were definitely my favorite part. They are all so colorful, interesting, exciting, and hilarious. The main character is just perfect. The plot moved fast enough that I couldn't stop reading lest I miss something, but the author still took the time to flesh out the details. The details are what really make or break a story.
Grady Ormsby
"At Fault" by Kate Chopin is an interesting book. Stylistically it is a child of its age, published in 1890. The characters, the plot and setting are all highly stylized, very much pre-modern.
"At Fault" is the story of a love triangle complicated by the constraints of social mores and values in the rural post-reconstruction South. Chopin examines the constraints on the interior lives of women, their disillusionment, and their attempts to achieve fulfillment in pre feminist times.
Barbara Svetlick
I have enjoyed reading Kate Chopin more because I want an insight into society during her life. I found the dialect of the servants to be heavy and difficult to go between regular conversations to the way she writes when in the servants character. The story is good and highlights the struggle between the morals of the day and what one wanted.
Zana Relke
this book was very hard to read! The story line sounded very interesting but big fancy words that I had to look up every other sentence and people talking to accents written into the book where my husband and I had no idea what they were saying.

Don't waste your time.
Connie Vincent
Mar 20, 2014 Connie Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of Chopin's short stories and "The Awakening". I found it intriguing that Chopin chose to self publish after the novel was initially rejected. If you loved "The Awakening" and are looking for something similar, this isn't it. Turn to her short stories, she has some exceptional ones.
Jul 19, 2007 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Came across this many years after reading "The Awakening". A good read - Chopin's descriptions of the area and the bayou are excellent, you can practically feel the heat. The characters are well drawn although I find the heroine's religious fervour trying.
Reading Kate Chopin for the third time, I must say that I didn't quite like this novella.I liked "The Story of an Hour," and "A Pair of Silk Stockings." "At Fault" was detailed, boring, and the characters did not have enough space for development. However, it remains an interesting read.
It's filled with historically accurate conflict, sociolinguist complexity, and is a forerunner of feminist writings. I love her use of dialects and occasional French that gives the work depth. Well worth the read!
Jun 04, 2012 Kellie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not her best work....
Jan 29, 2014 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good not great. I appreciate the themes Chopin explores but "The Awakening" is much better.
Jun 10, 2012 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing, complex characters and insightful look at post Civil War race relations in Louisiana. Kate Chopin should be part of the feminist canon.
Aug 18, 2016 Peggy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but not as good as The Awakening.
Christine Stafford
I liked The Awakening and most of her short stories better, but it was worth reading.
Jul 11, 2011 joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first experience with this author. I do like her style, but some of the secondary story-lines were unsatisfactorily resolved.
Apr 29, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis
I really enjoyed this book. It was confusing at times but overall I thought it was great and interesting considering the time period it was written in. Great introduction to Chopin.
Great insights into southern life in the 19th century.
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Kate Chopin was an American novelist and short-story writer best known for her startling 1899 novel, The Awakening. Born in St. Louis, she moved to New Orleans after marrying Oscar Chopin in 1870. Less than a decade later Oscar's cotton business fell on hard times and they moved to his family's plantation in the Natchitoches Parish of northwestern Louisiana. Oscar died in 1882 and Kate was suddenl ...more
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“Thérèse had not reached the age of thirty-five without learning that life presents many insurmountable obstacles which must be accepted, whether with the callousness of philosophy, the revolt of weakness or the dignity of self-respect.” 1 likes
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