From ruined Louisiana plantations to bustling, cosmopolitan New Orleans, Kate Chopin wrote with unflinching honesty about propriety and its strictures, the illusions of love and the realities of marriage, and the persistence of a past scarred by slavery and war. Her stories of fiercely independent women, culminating in her masterpiece The Awakening (1899), challenged contemporary mores as much by their sensuousness as their politics, and today seem decades ahead of their time. Now, The Library of America collects all of Chopin's novels and stories as never before in one authoritative volume.
The explosive novel At Fault (1890) centers on a love triangle between a strong-willed young widow, a stiff St. Louis businessman, and the man's alcoholic wife. In the story collections Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), Chopin transforms the local color sketch into taut, perfectly calibrated tales of post-Civil War bayou culture. In The Awakening, the now-classic novel that scandalized many of her contemporaries and effectively ended her writing career, Chopin tells the story of a restless, unsatisfied woman who embarks on a quixotic search for fulfillment.
The volume also includes all the stories not collected by Chopin, including those meant for "A Vocation and a Voice," a projected volume that her publisher canceled in 1900, and three stories that were found in 1992 in a long-lost cache of Chopin's papers.