The Awakening by Kate Chopin****

Reading dates: 23 January – 9 April 2014

I really appreciated reading The Awakening. It is soft spoken, considerate, well-turned out and mannered but very determined. It is sad and I am not sure I get on with the ending but I am conscious that I also cannot provide an alternative to Mrs Pontellier’s predicament, at least at the time the book is set in. I have a similar relationship to children which is why I have not yet chosen to have them.

More than anything in the book, I liked the names, their ring, their musicality (they would be musical with their French provenance): Reisz, Pontellier, Ratignolle, Lebrun, Alcée Arobin, Doctor Mandelet … It is not easy to find as literary names as these. The whole book does feel literary, in its rhythm (like waves), pace (slow, slow, fast) and prose (cared for, definitely not gratuitous). This is what makes it beautiful. The anger is bubbling below a thin skin of measure.