Known for her vivid portrayals of Creole life in Louisiana, Kate Chopin (1851–1904) wrote, during her brief literary career, poignant and perceptive stories about the emotional lives of women. Bypassing many of the conventions of 19th-century realism, she won praise for her realistic portraits of the inhabitants of bayou and urban areas.
This collection of nine stories contains one of her most famous works, "Désirée's Baby" — a haunting and ironic tale of miscegenation. Additional stories include "Madame Célestin's Divorce," "A Gentleman of Bayou Téche" and "At the 'Cadian Ball," from Bayou Folk; "A Respectable Woman," "A Night in Acadie" and Azélie" from A Night in Acadie; "The Dream of an Hour" and the title story. Written with grace, delicate humor and a keen understanding of the human — especially the female — psyche, these stories are a superb introduction to an important American writer whose literary career was cut short by the harsh criticism directed at her novel The Awakening (1899).