Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book 63- The Awakening (98th novel)

I am so sick of novels about affairs. It seems that the novel 100 list is absolutely chock full of them. Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, The Scarlet Letter, and The Age of Innocence are just a few. I have loved some of those novels, but I have to say that the subject matter is getting very old. Is there nothing more interesting to talk about?

The Awakening was more of a novella and the copy I had included a few other short stories. I enjoyed the setting since the stories were set in New Orleans, a place that very few of the novels on this list have been set. Absalom, Absalom was set in the South but I am no longer remembering what state.

I read this novel quite some time ago (I finished it in March), but I have, quite simply, not had the heart to do a blog about it. I can think of nothing that the book made me feel other than,  "meh." I didn't like the main character and I found her selfish and unlikeable. In my mind she had no redeeming qualities and I didn't feel like her plight was really teaching me anything.

The focus of the novel was a woman who was suddenly awakened to the fact that she could have a private identity outside of her duties as a woman and a citizen of a certain culture and place. There were a few quotes that I liked in regards to this topic but the out workings of her discovery just made me angry. While I agree that we all have a private identity beyond the roles that we take on, I don't think we should be selfish with this freedom.

"In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position to the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her."

"But I don't want anything but my own way. That is wanting a good deal of course, when you have to trample upon the lives, the hearts, the prejudices of others."

The only other thing I have to say about this novel is that it has some cool things to say about the spiritual qualities of the ocean and how it can speak to the soul. As someone who was raised on an Island and currently lives a block from the ocean I can attest to the fact that the ocean (and water in general) can have a therapeutic effect on a person.

"The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation."

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul."

With this review done I can put this novel to rest and move full speed ahead with the April novel which is A Passage to India. Although it is April 18th I am just starting the novel now. I took on a challenge of reading Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon which is a 1000 page beast. True to Pynchon form it is a weird novel and I am having a bit of trouble plowing through it.

No comments: