A short story by Kate Chopin. The story takes place in an unnamed city–a city large enough to have a department store, a fashionable restaurant, a theatre, and a cable car–probably in the early 1890s.
This is the second one of these little Penguin Black Classics that I’ve read- I have about 10 of them now, and I’ll likely get through a few more… I had my eye on a couple in the bookshop the other day, but didn’t end up getting them right then. They’re so cute and little, and make great train reading, since I can generally get through one in the time it takes to get from my house to the city. They also don’t weigh much, so more space in my handbag for buying
more books sensible things that I need!
I don’t really know what I expected with this little collection. It’s the first Kate Chopin that I’ve read, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t totally blown away by all of them. I did like them, but not all of them resonated with me in the same way that Katherine Mansfield’s did in the Miss Brill stories I read a few months ago. Some stories I liked more than others, which is pretty standard in a collection, since not everything will be to my taste, but it was probably one of the better collections I’ve read. Chopin tackles some controversial topics here, including love, racism, privilege, morality, promiscuity and acceptable female behaviour. She does this with such skill and with such empathy that you really feel a part of that character. Her style of Southern Gothic is so subtly beautiful, it makes me want to go there!
The writing was delicious in all of the stories, and truly brought the characters and scenes to life. I think the one I liked best was the titular story, where a frugal woman has a few extra dollars and decides to go out and spoil herself. There’s an overarching sense of loneliness and dissatisfaction, but somehow, it remains satisfying. I mean, who hasn’t gone and bought something nice for no reason, just because you feel like it and have the dosh to spare? I know I’ve done it!
I have The Awakening and will hopefully read it in the coming months (so like… in the next 5 years or so, ha.) and I’ve heard fantastic things about it. I’m really looking forward to getting further into Chopin’s works, as well as learning about her as a person at some point.