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The Awakening | [Kate Chopin]

The Awakening

Kate Chopin’s novel, a landmark work of early feminism, is seen as a pre-cursor to the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. The upper-class Creole society of New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the 19th century is brought to audio in a stirring performance by Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Matriarch of fine literature Kate Chopin unfailingly delivers psychologically complex characters and stunningly visceral environments. Set in an upper-crust section of Louisiana towards the end of the 19th Century, The Awakening is meant to be performed. Award-winning actress Kim Basinger employs a crystalline tone when narrating this insightful and irony-rich work of fiction. Her voice is nimble enough to allow for dead-on mimicry of characters ranging from parrot to Frenchmen. Protagonist Edna Pontellier struggles to overcome feminine stereotype in a society that is determined to thwart her freedom. Rebelling against her cruel husband, Edna dallies with a young man of rakish character. Basinger’s taut voice enables listeners to hover with Edna between want and denial. Basinger’s cerebral yet poignant performance illuminates this profound novel.

Publisher's Summary

Kate Chopin’s novel, a landmark work of early feminism, is seen as a pre-cursor to the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. The upper-class Creole society of New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the 19th century is brought to audio in a stirring performance by Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger.

Edna Pontellier, vacationing for the summer with her family on Grand Isle, has a great desire to find and live fully within her true self. However, her struggle to reconcile her unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South brings the story to a tragic conclusion. The Awakening’s blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity is the first in a tradition that would culminate in the modern masterpieces of Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.

The Awakening is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.0 (189 )
5 star
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4 star
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3.0 (157 )
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Story
3.1 (168 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 02-01-14
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 02-01-14 Member Since 2012

    S. Quire

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better to sleep in peace than awake to nightmare?"

    A question to ponder. The better question is how does one live with joy and gratitude after being awakened to new emotions, feelings and passions after years of commitment, loyalty and love to another? An awakening at some time in life (if even for fleeting moments) is a likelihood. The questions of 'what-if..." and 'why now....' will probably follow. A person's reaction will define his/her character as will his/her course after a weakness is revealed.

    Edna Pontellier was a selfish woman from her awakening forward. I detested her, thought she was a blubbering baby much of the time and I found it hard to feel sorry for her because of how immature she acted. Had she been more sympathetic I might have felt more pity for her situation of being stuck with a man she did not love.

    Published 43 years after "Madame Bovary" (1856) "Awakening" (1899) is a lesser version but very similar. The Awakening is, of course, set in the US, specifically in south Louisiana. The French names are similar. The affairs are similar, but the later novel is not so much steamy and seems more aimed at the female's point of view in the late 1800s toward sexual repression in a place that was undoubtedly more chauvinistic and backwards than France in the mid-1800s.

    I enjoyed the book for a view of life during that period and the raw emotions exposed to the salty air. I know this is frequently used (or always) in feminist studies in academia, so I've always wanted to read this, if for nothing else, to broaden my horizons.

    Kim Basinger as narrator did an absolutely impeccable job with the tone, accent and acting the part of Edna Pontellier. I wish she'd do more narrating work on classic novels; she has such a melodic, soft Southern voice.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Jacob Port of Spain 05-05-13
    Deborah Jacob Port of Spain 05-05-13 Member Since 2011

    I am an author and a librarian, and I happily now live in the realm of audio books.

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    "Like Seeing a Movie with Your Eyes Closed"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Awakening to be better than the print version?

    The tension in the story along with the description make this a book that is best as an audiobook.


    Have you listened to any of Kim Basinger’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Her performance in The Awakening proves that Basinger can bring that taught tension we have come to recognise in her movie performances to audio books.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't wait to have the time to complete this book. It felt like Basinger was in the room telling me the story, and it was a rare treat to be able to picture her as the narrator of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Published in 1899, The Awakening is a much over-looked novel by Kate Chopin, panned in her life time an dubbed "vulgar" undoubtedly because it was a novel ahead of its time. The story of a married woman opening up to life in spite of her husband's neglect and verbal abuse, The Awakening explores the murky space between loyalty and infidelity as the protagonist enjoys the company of a flirty, questionable young man who makes a habit of sweeping married women off their feet. Kim Basinger delivers a riveting performance, interpreting each character's voice with careful consideration. She captures the sultry mood of this rare story that juxtaposes snippets of beautiful description with mouth-clenching tension. Basinger captures the author's sympathy with Edna Pellier and the playfulness of Robert, who speaks in French. She delivers an impeccable performance even capturing the squawking parrot and the French-speaking characters with grace and dignity. The Awakening, narrated by Kim Basinger is a bargain and a treasure.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-14
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 06-21-14 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ONCE AGAIN THE "A-LIST NARRATOR" IS JUST AWFUL"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Probably if Kim Basinger wasn't narrating. Listening to her was like sticking a rusty fork in my eye!


    Has The Awakening turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, it just continues to turn me off from Hollywood "actors" thinking that their skill set makes them into good book narrators.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kim Basinger’s performances?

    NOPE!


    What character would you cut from The Awakening?

    THE NARRATOR!!!


    Any additional comments?

    As I've said a kazillion times before, I don't know why Audible thinks having actors narrate books will make the listening experience better. IT DOES NOT!!! I've wasted money listening to Elliott Gould ruin a Raymond Chandler classic and Samuel L. Jackson fumble a book written by a black author about black people in Harlem. The only A-List actor who has ever really impressed me as a narrator is Don Cheadle. Everyone else should just stay in Malibu or Manhattan or wherever their movie money allows them to live and leave audiobooks to the professional narrators. Kim Basinger reads this already boring story as if she reading a bedtime story to a 2 year-old. I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and I suffer from chronic insomnia! On top of that, I bought the book because it's supposed to be about Louisiana Créoles. Yet, Basinger can't speak French properly nor does she give the characters any depth because she doesn't know the Louisiana dialect or customs. She can barely get through the ENGLISH parts, stumbling and bumbling through sentences as if English is her second language. I'm glad I only paid about $1.99 for this mess in the Daily Deal. But I still may return it for my $2.00. At least I can buy a beignet on Canal Street with the money! Don't waste your time or your money on this one!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Gillet San Diego, CA United States 07-31-13
    Edward Gillet San Diego, CA United States 07-31-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story but a terrible reading"
    Where does The Awakening rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've never written a review before, but I just had to say that this reading by Kim Basinger is really disappointing. She has a tin ear for Chopin's prose with all its suble ironic subordination. Ms. Basinger can't seem to read more than three or four words..at a time..and...by the end of the novel...her halting reading style...drove me nuts. But even her quasi-literate reading couldn't quite kill Chopin's strong writing. Buy this novel, but not this version.


    19 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Munden Youngsville, NC, US 03-15-14
    Joyce Munden Youngsville, NC, US 03-15-14 Member Since 2007

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just couldn't finish listening"
    What disappointed you about The Awakening?

    I could only get through a portion of this book because the narrator drove me crazy. She spoke to slowly and nearly whispered through the lines. I will never buy another audio book with Kim Basinger as the narrator.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Apple Valley, MN, United States 03-14-14
    Cathy Apple Valley, MN, United States 03-14-14 Member Since 2012
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    "I can not go any farther"

    I have tried to listen to this good but it is soooo boring. I have listened for about 2 hours and it has not said anything yet or come up with a story line. I am done with it. can not listen any longer.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stanley V. Dawson 08-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Did not like"
    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Travelling with pomegranets


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kim Basinger’s performances?

    OK.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger, sadness and disappointment: all three


    Any additional comments?

    I do not like stories where childen are ignored and that encourage adultery, promote suicide and are depressing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan PointBlank, TX, United States 06-01-14
    Jan PointBlank, TX, United States 06-01-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Not my cup of tea, pinkie out."

    I found this book very well written. I could relate to most of the feelings of the main character. The book made me feel very grateful that I live in a time that I can escape such boring trappings. I don't feel that it is worth listening to the whole book just to be able to say " Thank God above I don't live back then."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    redkurlzz VA 05-04-14
    redkurlzz VA 05-04-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I returned this audio."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I have no idea as I couldn't listen to the recording. Awful narration.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rebecca hayden, AL, United States 03-24-14
    rebecca hayden, AL, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2013

    I live in the deep woods of Alabama-an aspiring writer/illustrator. I spend my time consumin' literature and poopin' out Doodles. :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful and poetic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. I chose it at random during the Daily Deal offer and had no pretext for the work. I was surprised to learn how long ago it was written. The protagonist is easy to relate with and has depth. I was in a trance through the whole thing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The imagery reads like train-of-thought and the audience is allowed to "wake up" with the protagonist. The plot is well constructed and builds like a house of cards. It is subtle and shows the reader a pre-feminist view of a woman's life.


    What about Kim Basinger’s performance did you like?

    Her voice is lovely but she reads very, very slowly. I had to speed it up so it wouldn't drive me mad. Aside from that, her breathy voice lends a sort of quiet frustration to the reading and that works well with the story.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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