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Ethan Frome | [Edith Wharton]

Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome, a poor, downtrodden New England farmer, is trapped in a loveless marriage to his invalid wife, Zeena.When Zeena's young cousin Mattie arrives to help care for her, Ethan is immediately taken by Mattie's warm, vivacious personality. They fall desperately in love as he realizes how much is missing from his life and marriage.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Published in 1911, Wharton's novel is set in the desolate New England town of Starkfield. Ethan Frome, a painfully loyal farmer and his demanding wife, Zeena, are trapped in a cheerless marriage. When her cousin Mattie comes to work for them, Ethan and Mattie struggle against forbidden feelings, but inevitably, they fall in love. Scott Brick's able narration conveys the pervasive dreariness of lives only briefly relieved by the advent of possibility. However, as with many of Wharton's novels, irony dominates. Brick's performance offers a familiarity with Downeast colloquialisms and thoroughly believable New England accents. He brings Wharton's characters to oppressive life in this unrelentingly grim story. This production opens with a brief summary of the author's life, offering insights.

Publisher's Summary

Ethan Frome, a poor, downtrodden New England farmer, is trapped in a loveless marriage to his invalid wife, Zeena. His ambition and intelligence are oppressed by Zeena's cold, conniving character. When Zeena's young cousin Mattie arrives to help care for her, Ethan is immediately taken by Mattie's warm, vivacious personality. They fall desperately in love as he realizes how much is missing from his life and marriage. Tragically, their love is doomed by Zeena's ever-lurking presence and by the social conventions of the day. Ethan remains torn between his sense of obligation and his urge to satisfy his heart's desire, up to the suspenseful and unanticipated conclusion.

Perhaps reflective of Wharton's own loveless marriage, this sophisticated, star-crossed love story vividly depicts her abhorrence of society's relentless standards of loyalty. Ethan Frome is one of Wharton's most popular and best-known works.

© (P)2002 Tantor Media, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (178 )
5 star
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3.9 (128 )
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4.1 (126 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Anne Yellowknife, Northwest Terr, Canada 11-11-03
    Anne Yellowknife, Northwest Terr, Canada 11-11-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A time capsule not to be missed"

    I tried this book because of the narrator, and loved the story! It is a fascinating glimpse into another time and mindset, and has some unexpected turns and ironies. The characters develop through the story in such a way that the listener is thoroughly engaged. Scott Brick gives a brilliant portrayal of the regional accent and cadence of speech. A recommended listen!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles fredericksburg, VA, USA 05-03-08
    Charles fredericksburg, VA, USA 05-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "amazing irony"

    If it were a little condensed, this story would remind me of a twilight zone episode. That's not a negative comment; those were great stories, and so is Ethan Frome. It's a tragedy certainly, but I have to believe it would not have the same powerful effect with a happy ending. buy it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-29-13
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-29-13

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow is smooth and smooth is Fast until it isn't"

    This is one of those novels/novellas that is so cold, barren and bleak that the full beauty of it isn't completely evident until you put the book down, drink a warm beverage, and warm your brain, body and soul back up. Wharton's prose is amazing and her plot is perfection.

    'Ethan Frome' is another novella that proves that bigger isn't always better. This book joins a short but very amazing list of short novels that seem to almost acheive literary perfection in under 150 pages: 'Heart of Darkness', 'Of Mice and Men', 'Animal Farm', 'Old Man and the Sea' and 'the Metamorphosis'. Anyway, I've read/listened to books well over 600+ pages that have 1/2 as much to say.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Sullivan Barryville, NY United States 11-12-12
    Claire Sullivan Barryville, NY United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A classic, but not much fun"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was good to tick off a classic I had never before read, but this was a seriously depressing read. This book on a grey drizzly February day and I would probably be suicidal.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 04-17-07
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 04-17-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love Him or Hate Him?"

    For a short story, this book packs a lot thought provoking questions. Not the most intriguing story I have ever read, but it makes one think of relationships and how we treat each other. Maybe if the book was longer, the author could have developed the characters more. Still, not a bad read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Konetzka Goodrich, MI USA 07-12-14
    K. Konetzka Goodrich, MI USA 07-12-14 Member Since 2005
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    "A cold and suspenseful story"

    I came back to this book after reading it in high school many years ago. I had forgotten how chillingly good it is. Alfred Hitchcock could have made an amazing movie from it. Then tension between Ethan and his wife is excruciating. A great story with a fantastic reading by Scott Brick. Try it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mama C 03-17-14
    Mama C 03-17-14 Member Since 2008
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    "A Classic for a Reason"

    "Ethan Frome" is a little gem! Short enough to be read in a day, I confess it took me longer as I stopped from time to time to think about the story. Wharton has written a passionate book hidden behind the austere exteriors of her New England characters. The melancholy beauty of it took my breath away! This is not a book to read and move on; she leaves her readers considering her setting, characters, and conflict and knowing there is more depth than a single reading can reveal. The narrator seemed to capture the tone and only added to the story. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 09-30-12
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 09-30-12 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic story read beautifully!"
    Would you listen to Ethan Frome again? Why?

    Yes, I would. This story is short enough to invest in the time to re hear it.


    What other book might you compare Ethan Frome to and why?

    It's such a sad tale, I guess I would say Wuthering Heights, but this one is much shorter. They both tell the story of star crossed lovers and they both have that sad ending.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    He is a master narrator and did a masterful performance.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and I did today!


    Any additional comments?

    I have read this book and seen the movie, but this was such an engrossing way to live the story. Still crying over this one...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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