• The Awakening

  • By: Kate Chopin
  • Narrated by: Kim Basinger
  • Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • 3.3 out of 5 stars (363 ratings)

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The Awakening  By  cover art

The Awakening

By: Kate Chopin
Narrated by: Kim Basinger
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Editorial 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 precursor 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.

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Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"If 'The Feminine Mystique' heralded the second wave of literary feminism, Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel, The Awakening, was a landmark of the first. Edna Pontellier is a rich New Orleans housewife who at first bristles against but then comes to reject the traditional gender norms of the fin de siècle South. 'The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.' Kim Basinger reads the closing lines of the novel - oft-quoted in gender studies classes - in a voice that’s as smooth as the waves buffeting Edna’s body and as resolved as her conviction that though her husband and children 'were a part of her life…they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul.'” (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about The Awakening

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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."

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