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The Awakening
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Old School Classics, Pre-1900 > The Awakening - NO Spoilers

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message 1: by Pink (last edited Dec 01, 2015 02:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6556 comments This is our Old School Classic Group Read for December 2015.

Please use this thread for general, spoiler free discussion of The Awakening by Kate Chopin

If you wish to discuss the plot in more detail, then please use the spoiler thread here

If you would like a free copy of the book, here are some links for online, kindle and audio versions:

Project Gutenberg
Amazon UK
Amazon.com
LibriVox Version 1 - Collaborative
Librivox Version 2 - Solo

I hope you'll join us this month, happy reading!


Christine | 1216 comments I am so excited that this book finally won a poll! I have been wanting to read it for a very long time. I hope I end up liking it now after all this build up. ;-)


Philina | 1562 comments I've recently finished the audio book and felt disappointed. I had expected more. I felt that I never really got to know the characters and for the rest we'll talk more in the spoiler thread.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 587 comments Read this in high school and didn't like it at all.


message 5: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4781 comments Mod
I have been thinking about reading this one for awhile, however based on pre-win planning. I selected this for my Women's Century Challenge. So I may hold off till January 1st to start.


Pink | 6556 comments I had mixed feelings about this, but it's definitely worth a read. Bob, it will be January before you know it, hope you get to it.


message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie Kostek (kkostek) I've listened to the first chapter on audible. It is far from what I expected. I'm going to keep listening. I hope it's really as good as everyone says.


Nathan | 421 comments I finished this a few days ago and I liked it very much.

I thought the characters and plot were okay, but what really won me over with this story was the description. It's so sensuous. The lush setting, the food, the visual details of what people are wearing...it brought the world of the novel to life for me using multiple senses.

The description feels leisurely and prolific, but it's a such a short novel. I could feel the Gulf breeze, smell the jessamine and I wanted a snack! Awakening the senses of the reader was a skilled decision by Kate Chopin. It made me feel more connected to my body. I felt like the themes of the novel were identity and repression and the interconnectedness of mind and body. Where do we seek pleasure? What do we need to extract from life to make it worth living?

All the cool descriptive stuff put me in the right space to "get" the novel on both a head and gut level in a way that I usually associate with poetry. Maybe because it brings the gut feeling - an unarticulated emotional reaction - to the forefront.


Sarah I don't think I ever got beyond mild interest. I couldn't understand why it was a classic for the prose, although the story itself makes sense. I just failed to see examples of the beautiful writing I kept hearing about. I was also quite confused because my edition had some short stories at the end but it didn't call it out so I thought I was reading chapters with different titles. It took me a bit to realize what was going on and that the story was over.

I did really like the descriptions of the flowers and scents.


Desertorum I have this in my challenge for next year as well, so I´ll be back in January :)


Kathleen | 3588 comments Nathan wrote: "I finished this a few days ago and I liked it very much.

I thought the characters and plot were okay, but what really won me over with this story was the description. It's so sensuous. The lush s..."


Thank you for this comment, Nathan. I read this years ago, and as I return to it now, this helps me get in the right frame of mind to really appreciate it!


message 12: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Nathan wrote: "I finished this a few days ago and I liked it very much.

I thought the characters and plot were okay, but what really won me over with this story was the description. It's so sensuous. The lush s..."


Great comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Deirdre (deirdrereid) | 10 comments I found a used Norton Critical Edition. Two-thirds of the book is biographical and historical context and criticism! I'll get to that after reading the book this weekend. So I guess if you have any contextual questions, I'll do my best to be your resource.

This is such an exciting time in history so I'm excited to dig into this book.


Laurie | 1578 comments Sarah wrote: "I don't think I ever got beyond mild interest. I couldn't understand why it was a classic for the prose, although the story itself makes sense. I just failed to see examples of the beautiful writin..."

I am glad to see that I wasn't the only one with this addition. It confused me greatly at first that these stories which were completely unrelated were there.


Melanti | 2386 comments Is there a good audiobook version someone can recommend?

There's two cheaper versions on audible.

The first can't pronounce "New Orleans" properly... I refuse to listen to an audiobook when the narrator can't even pronounce the name of the city the book is set in.

The second seems to be butchering the french... And I'd assume there's going to be a fair bit of French - what with it being New Orleans and all. (am I wrong on this point? If so, I might go ahead and listen to that version.)


Nathan | 421 comments Melanti wrote: "Is there a good audiobook version someone can recommend?

There's two cheaper versions on audible.

The first can't pronounce "New Orleans" properly... I refuse to listen to an audiobook when the ..."


I didn't pay much attention to the New Orleans thing, so I'm not sure if the version I listened to got it right or not. Edna is from Kentucky if that's any excuse.

I would say there is not much French. Names, a few terms and a few exclamations. Not long sections of dialog.


Nathan | 421 comments Kathleen wrote: "Thank you for this comment, Nathan. I read this years ago, and as I return to it now, this helps me get in the right frame of mind to really appreciate it! "

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)


Melanti | 2386 comments Nathan wrote: "Edna is from Kentucky if that's any excuse...."

Not really, no. I'm from the midwest and used to mispronounce the name as well. But I was very quickly corrected when I moved down here and I don't even live in Louisiana.

Nathan wrote: "I would say there is not much French. Names, a few terms and a few exclamations. Not long sections of dialog. ..."

Okay, then second version it is... Thanks!
And on a second listen, the french seem a lot better than it sounded at first anyway.


message 19: by Christine (last edited Dec 04, 2015 07:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christine | 1216 comments Melanti wrote: "Okay, then second version it is... Thanks!
And on a second listen, the french seem a lot better than it sounded at first anyway."


Specifically which audio edition did you choose, Melanti? I've been contemplating listening to an audio edition myself.


message 20: by Melanti (last edited Dec 04, 2015 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melanti | 2386 comments The one narrated by O'Karma. Kindle edition is free and whispersynced price is $3.

http://smile.amazon.com/The-Awakening...

Goodreads link is here: The Awakening

Jane Leclercq is the one who can't pronounce "New Orleans" properly, so if that bugs you too, then stay away from her.

As a note, the second Librivox version (the solo one) sounds decent in the first couple of minutes so that might also be a good one. But I usually switch back and forth between text and audio at least a little bit, so I'd rather have the whispersync feature.


Sarah How does she pronounce it?


Melanti | 2386 comments She pronounces it "New Or-LEENS".

There's a lot of variation in how people pronounce it around here, but that's the one way that's wrong.

It's usually pronounced "New OAR-lins". The emphasis is on the OAR bit and hte lins bit is soft.

HEre's a youtube video that talks about it, (and a couple of other variations) if you'd rather hear it said out loud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8jAD...


Melanti | 2386 comments Berneis is pronouncing it just fine in the sample.

I really ought to try Hoopla sometime - especially on short books like this.


Christine | 1216 comments I found one on Overdrive, but I do like to have the whispersync option... We'll see!


message 25: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Melanti wrote: "She pronounces it "New Or-LEENS".

There's a lot of variation in how people pronounce it around here, but that's the one way that's wrong.

It's usually pronounced "New OAR-lins". The emphasis is ..."


Oh dear, that's how I'd pronounce it, maybe New Or-leens is an error with British accents, as I think that's how everyone I know would say it.


Melanti | 2386 comments Pink wrote: "Oh dear, that's how I'd pronounce it, maybe New Or-leens is an error with British accents, as I think that's how everyone I know would say it. ..."

It's pronounced that way in a lot of areas of the US too. Just not in/around New Orleans.


Leslie | 145 comments It's funny but I remember that I loved this book, yet cannot remember a single thing about it. LOL. Time for a re-read. :-)


Christine | 1216 comments I ended up really liking the audio edition I listened to (this one). It is narrated by Grace Conlin and I thought she did a great job with it.


message 29: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 627 comments I used the librivox version narrated by Elizabeth Klett. She nailed it, as always.


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