Alex's Reviews > The Awakening and Selected Stories

The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin
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's review
Jul 27, 11

bookshelves: 2011, reading-through-history
Read from July 26 to 27, 2011

Chopin is good shit. Kirs picked it up for me after finding with horror that I'd never read her; she has literally never steered me wrong with books, so it's hardly surprising. (I wish I could say I had the same track record with her. Sorry about Kavalier and Clay!)

"The Awakening" makes an interesting pair with Madame Bovary; the themes are nearly identical, but the execution is as different as it can be. Edna is an ambiguous character, and it's easy to feel that she's making some questionable decisions. Even her attitude toward her children is similar to Emma's. But overall, she's way more sympathetic than Emma.

And I love novellas, man. They're a perfect afternoon.

Her short stories are mostly good too: short, sharp things with fierce denouements. "Désirée's Baby" and "A Respectable Woman" were my favorites.

I totally dug this.

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Edition notes: eh. For one thing, this is mysteriously missing "Story of an Hour," probably her most-admired short story; I'll have to try to find that online. The intro is cursory, and the book itself is one of those little things where you have to fold half of it way back to get the margins to show.

Most importantly: there's an endnote to "The Awakening" that spoils the ending if you're paying any attention. Specifically, it's note 4 to chapter XXI. Some of the others are helpful, but avoid that at all costs if you haven't read the book before.
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Reading Progress

07/27/2011 page 100
31.0% "Oh, for fuck's sake: an endnote just spoiled the end of this book. Unbelievable."

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by El (last edited Jul 27, 2011 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

El I'm surprised there are people still out there who don't know how the story ends. But I had to read it an obscene amount of times in school. (That all sounds snootier than I intend, sorry - I think you know what I mean though.)

I recently bought a copy of Chopin's Lilacs and Other Stories which looks good too. But now that I do a comparison between the edition you read and Lilacs it seems they have the same stories. Harumph.


Alex Kirs said she was unable to find an edition that had Story of an Hour! Granted, she only went to one store, but still. Weird.

Do you remember Awakening enough to give me your opinion of the early scene where Edna and Madame Ratignolle are at the beach alone together? I thought maybe there were lesbian undertones there. Re-read it just now and eh, maybe I was reading too much into it (and I'm not a fan of the "Read lesbian undertones into everything" crowd, honest)...but it might be there.


message 3: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Sorry, haven't read it since college. But I'm sure we discussed lesbian undertones at some point in that book (it always managed to come up somehow, no matter what we were reading). I really should re-read it; I'll see if I can find my copy as I unpack and I'll review that part.


Alex It was around page 25 in my 180-page edition. Very early.

Yeah, lesbian undertones are dangerous because there's someone willing to see them in fuckin' everything.


message 5: by Kelley (new)

Kelley She didn't like Kavalier and Clay? Loved it.


Alex Yeah, I don't know why that one missed for her.


message 7: by Jayme (new)

Jayme I'm feeling dumb for never even having heard of this author...should I just kill myself now?


Alex I never had until a week ago, so you're exactly a week dumber than me.

So yeah, pretty much.


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