At Fault by Kate Chopin

At Fault

At Fault by Kate Chopin was first published in 1890. It’s the first book that I’ve read by the author.

The setting is a large plantation in Louisiana where Therese Lafirme’s husband has died and left her to run the place on her own, with the help of many Creole servants of course. I must admit that it was a long time before I understood why Therese had urged David Hosmer to re-marry Fanny, his first wife, when Therese was obviously keen on him herself.

As soon as Hosmer re-married Fanny he regretted it, Fanny is an alcoholic and had made his life a misery previously. He takes Fanny back to Louisiana where her drinking continues and Therese realises that she has shackled the man that she loves to a pathetic and deeply damaged woman. Why did she do it?

Doh, I realised eventually that it was because she was a Roman Catholic of French descent and couldn’t marry a divorced man, it still seems bizarre that she should encourage David to re-marry his ex-wife, bringing Fanny into her own milieu.

There’s a lot of Creole dialect in this book but it’s not difficult to understand – please note that – anyone who complains about Scots dialect in books!

I believe this was Chopin’s first book and I think she must have improved with experience, but I don’t know if I would bother reading any more, unless anyone recommends a specific book by her.

6 thoughts on “At Fault by Kate Chopin

  1. This author is new to me, but I’m always interested in learning about books that are set in the South. Thanks for bringing it to the attention of your readers including me.

  2. I found the text available at Project Gutenberg so must read it in full.
    It’s years since I read anything with that dialect, but any book that includes the line “steppin’ ’roun’ heah like a droopy pullet” deserves to be read!

    • Valerie,
      It is a memorable line! That ‘heah’ reminded me of a very southern English woman that I once spoke to, but her ‘heah’ was very high pitched and nasal, not pleasant to listen to at all. I never thought to check out P Gutenberg, that’ll save me from looking for The Awakening, thanks.

  3. Chopin’s The Awakening is often required reading in US high school so I read it a long time ago but am unfamiliar with this one! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    • Constance,
      I have heard that The Awakening is better than this one so I’ll give it a go eventually. At Fault is available free at Project Gutenberg.

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