Apr 17, 10
Recommended to Dusty by:
Carly Sweder, John González
Read from March 09 to April 17, 2010, read count: 1
Most reviews of The Awakening begin with a qualification -- "For a woman of her time, Kate Chopin..." -- but not this one. I loved it from start to finish, loved it up, down, and sideways, loved it in a house, with a mouse, etc. It's an angsty American masterpiece -- a Catcher in the Rye for late 19th Century women, if you will, though not only women should/do identify with Edna Pontellier's internal/external struggle against the social "norms" that strap her without her consent into the "mother-woman" electric chair.
But just as enjoyable, and just as worthy of your time, is Chopin's short fiction, a few representatives of which are included in this Penguin Classics edition. I had read a few of these before -- "The Story of an Hour", about a woman who revels for 60 short minutes in the (misreported) news of her husband's death in a train accident; "A Pair of Silk Stockings", about a woman who squanders her time and money in a desperate but guilty attempt to break away from her family and think about herself for awhile; and "Desirée's Baby", about a woman of unknown heritage whose life and marriage are ideal until (gasp!) her baby is born black -- but the others are playful and innovative and socially important, too. I kept the book on my "to-read" list for an extra month hoping I would find the time to return to and finish the last three of these stories, but it seems the stars have other plans in mind for my reading time, at least until the end of the semester.
Anyway, Kate Chopin: One of my new favorites. The obsession commences.