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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (68,667 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kate Chopin Narrator: Grace Conlin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455171279
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First published in 1899, this revolutionary novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, The Awakening has been hailed as an early vision of woman’s emancipation. Rooted in the romantic tradition of Melville and Dickinson, it is the story of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier, a surprisingly modern woman trapped in a dehumanizing marriage and in search of self-discovery. Turning away from convention and society toward her primal instincts for passion and freedom, Edna abandons her family to realize herself as an individual. But her quest leads to her destruction by a society that grants no place for those unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood.

Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast, The Awakening is one of the most important novels written by an American woman in the nineteenth century and a landmark work of early feminism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Exquisite and sensitive…iridescent.”

    Willa Cather 

  • “Beautifully written.”

    Edmund Wilson

  • “Kate Chopin was long before her time in dealing with sexual passion…and the personal emotions of women.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Interesting and timely…Chopin’s oracular feminism and prophetic psychology almost outweigh her estimable literary talents.”

    Newsweek

  • “Chopin shares the boldness in technical experiment and moral relativism of her contemporaries in the 1890s…a writer of considerable sensibility and talent…in her stories she worked for breadth. In height, however, and depth, it is The Awakening that will serve as her passport into our time and posterity.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Her story is a tragedy and one of many clarion calls in its day to examine the institution of marriage and woman’s opportunities in an oppressive world.”

    500 Great Books for Women

  • “[A] poignant spiritual tragedy.”

    Dial

  • A Wall Street Journal Pick of 5 Novels on the Status of Women

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beatrice | 2/20/2014

    " I can see how it was considered scandalous when it was first published but it seems pretty tame now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 2/20/2014

    " Chick lit 1900s style. I have trouble w/ period pieces b/c I have a poor imagination for life pre-1960s. I just can't imagine a lack of indoor plumbing or heat, for example. So I when this was assigned for a freshman course I was prepared not to like it. I was wrong. So many of Edna's struggles are faced by women today. Very good- I've gone on to read some if Kate Chopin's short stories and they are just as good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zofie Vedas | 2/20/2014

    " I'll be honest, I couldn't finish this book. I got to about chapter eleven before I gave up, it was dull and I detested the protagonist. Since it was for class I just read sparknotes, probably didn't miss much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 2/18/2014

    " Once I understood, I thought this book was beautiful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pages Forever | 2/15/2014

    " From what I know of the author, this book was pulled from shelves in Illinois because it was considered controversial. I liked the imagery and Mademoiselle Reisz. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hailey | 2/14/2014

    " One might say that a scathing review of this book is possible because hindsight post feminist revolution is 20/20, but let's face it. ERA, Gloria Steinem, The Suffrage movement... all of it wouldn't have happened if the protagonist was the type of person that was supposed to enact these changes. Yes, there is a certain merit in this story about the liberation of women, but it stops pretty much after she moves out of her home with her husband. After that it actually screams anti-feminism because she totally falls apart. It doesn't encourage a change of heart that allows the protagonist to change the status quo. Instead she inverts it and finds herself so insanely unhappy she drives herself mad. If anything this short journey could leave one believing that she should have just stayed home and picked up needlework, because obviously she couldn't handle living in a world without a man. I say this is less a story about feminism and more a story about depression, which ultimately is genderless. This just happens to be one of those stories that they hold up high in college level english courses as the first piece of feminist literature. Screw that. For someone in those classes I hope you stand up and chuck this book at your professor. I remember reading it back then and wanting to do just that, instead I took over the class by steamrolling the idea that this book had more merit than simply an interesting story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Laporte | 2/12/2014

    " Absolutely phenomenal. Not something to be read in one sitting despite the length though - take it slowly. There are myriad literary and rhetorical devices which have to be read slowly to fully appreciate. I especially liked the ring composition stretching from the beginning to the end of the novel. The inter- and intra-textual allusions are plentiful and very meaningful. The first description I used to describe it just after I read it was a "literary orgasm." If you haven't read it, do so as soon as possible! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty Gray | 2/9/2014

    " written in 1899, so some of the sentence structure is a bit awkward, but it was well written. I enjoyed it even though it was sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juliet | 2/8/2014

    " So I only read the Awakening & I'm wondering who out there has read it! I think it is something I need to read in a class, to hear what others thought of it & to learn of the historical significance of this story being written by a woman in another era. If you've read this, let's talk : ) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 2/8/2014

    " I had some idea what to expect from this story, and it did not surprise me there. What I did not expect was the vibrant setting of the story, well-to-do families of New Orleans. I fell in love with that, and Chopin's descriptions of the people and places the protagonist lives amongst. It was an interesting follow-up to Middlemarch, dealing with similar themes of women who feel out of place in an oppressive society. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Parfitt | 2/5/2014

    " This book was quite good; the descriptions of the gulf of Mexico really give it a sense of place but some of it seemed a bit too vague for me. I thought it lacked pace. It's about a married woman who falls in love with a younger single man. The ending is quite sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 2/3/2014

    " Had to read it for an English class and still love it over a decade later. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pages Forever | 2/3/2014

    " From what I know of the author, this book was pulled from shelves in Illinois because it was considered controversial. I liked the imagery and Mademoiselle Reisz. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 2/2/2014

    " Chick lit 1900s style. I have trouble w/ period pieces b/c I have a poor imagination for life pre-1960s. I just can't imagine a lack of indoor plumbing or heat, for example. So I when this was assigned for a freshman course I was prepared not to like it. I was wrong. So many of Edna's struggles are faced by women today. Very good- I've gone on to read some if Kate Chopin's short stories and they are just as good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 1/30/2014

    " barely disguised story of women deserving orgasms, amazing for the late 19th century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie Daggers | 1/24/2014

    " 3.5, 3.5. What hurt this book more than anything else (for me) was Chopin's writing style and point-of-view. Lines like "She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known." read in such an awkward manner. Writing the entire work from a 1st person perspective would have made the work much better (it still would have read awkwardly, but nearly as much as it does). Edna is a bad human being by our standards, but I enjoyed reading about a bad bitch for once. There are plenty of male characters equally as awful, so I never found her being so to detract from the work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna Gross | 1/23/2014

    " I read this in college and have fond memories of it and my literature classes. I love reading something that has actually happened, no matter how foreign it is to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maranda | 1/23/2014

    " I understand Mrs. P's 'Awakening' to her true self and identity and wants, but I don't think I have read about such a selfish and irresponcible character since Madame Bovary! It is really interesting how the two books take such similar twists ( that end with me feeling similar irritation and disrespect for the main characters), and yet I still really like both books; it is very infurriating to read a book and be upset by the turn of events because the characters are ridiculously simple minded and yet not be able to say you hate it! So yes, I liked this book, but golly it is so melodramatic and if Mrs. P is not bipolor then no one must be! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sasheene Denny | 1/22/2014

    " I cannot emphasize enough how annoyed I was at this entire piece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 1/21/2014

    " The right story at the right time in my life... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 1/21/2014

    " A must read for every woman. Don't ever let yourself feel trapped... by anything or anyone. Live free! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 emilyo | 1/20/2014

    " Read this book. Then call me to discuss. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 1/20/2014

    " The ending was... not what I expected. I understand, but I do not agree. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 kari | 1/19/2014

    " very good, in a risque sort of way... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynne | 1/19/2014

    " I read this first in college but did not have enough life experience to appreciate it. Ending still seems wrong "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 1/19/2014

    " Read for book group. It sort of grew on me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/18/2014

    " I can understand the poor reviews, but only because the readers misunderstand the context in which Mrs. Pontellier was living at the time. Women did not particularly have choices in 1892. I give the book four stars because Chopin accurately portrays her awakening - the protagonist's understanding that there is more to life that what she was given. Mr. Pontellier is not a bad mad, he is simply adequate. He offers security and routine, nothing else. Robert awakened her to choices. Her suicide, well, of course that made no sense and was selfish, but given her "awakening" what option did she think she had? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Audrey Langill | 1/17/2014

    " my favorite of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 D.j. | 1/14/2014

    " One of my favorite classics. Great piece of literature that has interesting symbolism and themes throughout the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tori Herzberg | 1/3/2014

    " I actually liked this book,even though it was really slow at the beggining.I didn't like the ending though! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 12/29/2013

    " This was okay, nothing I could remember to quote or ever strive to return to with open shaking arms. In comparison, Maupassant's A Women's Life or Flaubert's Madame Bovary are much better in so many ways. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kto | 12/29/2013

    " Very well written. Kate Chopin had a pretty heart-breaking life so it's not a suprise to see that this book is pretty tragic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ruth | 12/27/2013

    " AP English book assignment. Can see it as a good discussion book, but did not enjoy it that much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alyson Rodgers | 12/25/2013

    " I completely related to it. A classic read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jess | 12/25/2013

    " Feminist lit. Before there was feminist lit. Amazing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 K.n. Listman | 12/24/2013

    " The lush imagery of the writing is appealing. Relationships a shown through subtle descriptions. However, I found no empathy with the main character, a privileged woman who is simply dabbling in trying to become someone of real substance - A bit like Madame Bovary - Therefore, it was not easy feel for her as she was destroying herself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelli | 12/24/2013

    " I kept going back to this bood, feeling like I should really like it. When I finally finished I was very happy to be an independent woman in a time when I can make my life choices "just for me". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 12/22/2013

    " barely disguised story of women deserving orgasms, amazing for the late 19th century. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Adrienne | 12/16/2013

    " I can't figure out who in this book I'm supposed to like! Couldn't ever get into it; wouldn't have finished it if it hadn't been assigned reading. Really, really disliked the protagonist; I thought she was incredibly selfish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vivian Valvano | 12/5/2013

    " Re-read it for my library presentation for my Great Writers' Series. Re-awakened! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/18/2013

    " Read this book in high school and have just revisited it. Beautifully written. One of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacey | 11/5/2013

    " The first book I've read that was written in the 1800's; suprised by how much I enjoyed it! The Awakening explores many controversial issues of the time period, but is, in a way, still relevant to this era as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephy | 10/16/2013

    " It was good, but only once you read the majority of the book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aimee | 9/30/2013

    " Surprise ending! Wasn't expecting it. Overall the character development was very interesting and I loved how the story unfolded. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Louise | 9/30/2013

    " Chopin creates empathetic characters you can't help but root for, while being carried through picturesque 19th century Louisiana. Then in the last three pages, viciously dumps you on your ass. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Morgan | 9/8/2013

    " I loved the metaphors and the emotion put into the novel "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juliet | 9/4/2013

    " So I only read the Awakening & I'm wondering who out there has read it! I think it is something I need to read in a class, to hear what others thought of it & to learn of the historical significance of this story being written by a woman in another era. If you've read this, let's talk : ) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kat | 8/20/2013

    " Good old fashioned feminist fun. Actually, I'll always remember that ending after 20 years! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jazmine | 8/6/2013

    " It was really unique and provoked deep thought as to the meaning of life and one's beliefs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 s•u•n•s•h•i•n•e ǤKENZ§» | 7/15/2013

    " A great book, speaking in terms of literary worth, but I was deeply unsatisfied with the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlotte | 7/10/2013

    " This is the only book I threw across the room when I "finished" reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Hood | 6/20/2013

    " great book, should be a classic "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jimmy | 6/15/2013

    " What happens to a married society lady with a huge crush on a friend. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Courtney | 6/5/2013

    " Very annoying and pathetic. Read his for school and hated it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kar Lea | 4/18/2013

    " fantastic. one of the best books that I have been assignend to read for english class. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 4/12/2013

    " surprisingly modern in content and writing style and language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Hayward | 3/25/2013

    " Very well written, complicated, and thought provoking. I only didn't give it five stars because sometimes reading about the woes of the upper class gets a little old. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 George Xiang | 2/23/2013

    " This book is stupid butt-hole crap and I shouldn't have given it a 2nd chance. I'd rather wear wet socks and listen to Justin Bieber narrate The Scarlet Letter to me while a tennis ball cannon hurls balls at my own balls than read this again "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 2/4/2013

    " A good enough book, though honestly a bit hard to muddle through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara Dobie Bauer | 1/16/2013

    " Loved this book in high school. Love it even more now as an adult. A gorgeous, tragic novel of one woman's efforts to escape the confines of her society. Does she fail, or does she succeed? Up for debate, but I'll write more about this book (and "Gatsby") on my blog Friday! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sneha | 12/30/2012

    " A novel ahead of its time. If only Edna had lived. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sam Farkas | 12/12/2012

    " Really not a fan. I understand its merits, especially as a feminist novel, but overall I found both the plot and characters bland. The kind of book that I could probably learn to like, if I gave it the time, but as a summer read, I'm not willing to do that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doris | 12/10/2012

    " Early feminist literature which was banned in the early 20th century. Well written and the Penguin edition includes a collection of Chopin's delightful short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky Jo Gesteland | 11/24/2012

    " Last time I read this I wasn't married, hadn't had children yet. Much more compelling now. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Aggie | 10/29/2012

    " I came in to this book with high hopes. I was disappointed, to say the least. I guess I just don't care for unstable, selfish, rich white girls who neglect their husband and children because they don't feel like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandi | 9/22/2012

    " Really good but a tragic ending. "There's always tomorrow", my little mother used to say :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Davis | 7/23/2012

    " This is one of the best books for describing the confusion of being a woman in a society that has a love/hate relationship with your gender. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nadia Miranda | 7/20/2012

    " This book made me see suicide with another eyes. Not that I intent to use it as a way out, but now I respect a bit more those that can are not able to handle life, and intent to leave it out of desperation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Marie | 7/9/2012

    " A pretty fair and decent display of a (clinically, if undiagnosed) depressed woman--the lens through which I read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessa | 6/14/2012

    " Every woman should probably read this at some point in her life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jin | 6/3/2012

    " The book The Awakening was required reading for a summer lit course. While not a book I would choose, I did enjoy certain aspects and can see why it has withstood the test of time as a "classic of feminist fiction." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynne | 5/3/2012

    " I read this first in college but did not have enough life experience to appreciate it. Ending still seems wrong "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mckenzie | 4/7/2012

    " Very close to 5 stars, I enjoyed it extensively And would gladly read it again. In fact it may be a book that I'd read every year or so, something that reminds me to bend the mold every now and then. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anita Williamson | 1/16/2012

    " I think it was fairly anti-men, family and marriage. A rather discouraging read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly Mcdowell | 1/8/2012

    " Wholly satisfying and sickly uplifting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eliza Chen | 10/19/2011

    " It felt incongruously relevant, considering both the time and the cultural sensibilities it portrays. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 10/2/2011

    " Goes incredibly well with Daniel Defoe's Roxana. They should be in lit classes together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dgoll | 9/15/2011

    " Interesting from a literary and social history perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 9/12/2011

    " I read it soon after reading Anna Karenina and I found the comparisons and contrasts of the two interesting with respect to the female leads. Definitely an interesting commentary on the role of women in society at the time. Lies in stark contrast to the more traditional Austens and Brontes. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Linda | 9/11/2011

    " This is the second time I tried to read this book. I did not get far. I am marking it read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stacy-ann | 8/19/2011

    " not the best thing I've ever read, it is all about that "women's rights" and freedom stuff, but it was just irritating with a selfish and borderline cruel main character. I would definately not recommend this to anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 A. Elizabeth | 8/10/2011

    " I could see very clearly why this book was banned when it was first published. The thoughts and emotions of Chopin's Edna Pontellier were so far ahead of their day I was surprised. I felt that this was an example of Chopin's honesty and I appreciated the book more for it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaworu | 5/23/2011

    " Dry and painful to read. The Awakening, a droll recounting of personal mistakes, will surely put anyone to sleep who attempts to read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paige | 5/21/2011

    " Read this for American Realism and Naturalism. Slightly frustrating story in several aspects. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 5/18/2011

    " Should've "woken up" a bit earlier. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chrissy | 5/16/2011

    " I probably need to re-read this as an adult as I read it as a teenager and I just recall that it felt pointless and the ending infuriated me as I felt the main character was "coping out." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 5/15/2011

    " I liked this book when it was assigned in high school, and I actually got really into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caryn | 5/13/2011

    " I read this book in high school, and I fell in love with it. It's a difficult and sad story but it really resonated with me. Highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 5/9/2011

    " History says this book is important because it's one of the earliest feminist novels in literature. I say it's one of the most depressing books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart | 5/4/2011

    " I read this book way back, 1975 I think. For my Women's Lit class, and the book has stayed with me all these years. A product of it's time, I associate it with Ibsen's "A Dolls House". The fate of the protagonist is a sad one, but for the time...I do suggest you read it for yourself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 5/3/2011

    " my favorite novel of all time. perfect daydream of a woman and love "

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About the Author
Author Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin (1851–1901) was born Katherine O’Flaherty in St. Louis in 1851. She was a popular social belle, admired for her wit and beauty. In 1871 she married Oscar Chopin and lived in Louisiana until his sudden death in 1882. Chopin began writing about the Creole and Cajun people in the South, gaining acclaim for her finely crafted short stories. Upon publication in 1899, her now-classic novel The Awakening was widely condemned for its controversial themes, and Chopin was devastated by its harsh critical reception. She died in 1904, denied in her lifetime the recognition she desperately wanted and richly deserved.

About the Narrator

Grace Conlin (1962–1997) was the recording name of Grainne Cassidy, an award-winning actress and acclaimed narrator. She was a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and won a Helen Hayes Award in 1988 for her role in Woolly Mammoth’s production of Savage in Limbo.