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Ethan Frome | [Edith Wharton]

Ethan Frome

Probably the most famous of Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome contrasts sharply with her usual ironic contemplation of the fashionable New York society to which she herself belonged and whose strengths and weaknesses she understood so well. Ethan Frome is a keenly-etched portrait of the simple inhabitants of a 19th-century New England village.
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Publisher's Summary

Probably the most famous of Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome contrasts sharply with her usual ironic contemplation of the fashionable New York society to which she herself belonged and whose strengths and weaknesses she understood so well. Ethan Frome is a keenly-etched portrait of the simple inhabitants of a 19th-century New England village.

Ethan, a gaunt, patient New Englander, is a man tormented by a passionate love for his wife's young cousin, Mattie. Restricted by the bonds of marriage and the fear of public condemnation, his desperate quest for happiness ultimately leads to pain and despair. Ethan's story, with its tragic implications of what might have been, has had an irresistible fascination over the past century.

(P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

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3.9 (68 )
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  •  
    Korinda Sherwood Park , AB, Canada 02-10-08
    Korinda Sherwood Park , AB, Canada 02-10-08
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    "excellently narrated"

    The narrator did an excellent job of portraying the Edith Wharton's classic. She kept a good pace throughout the story. This is one of Edith Wharton's shorter works that I highly recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori United States 05-25-13
    Lori United States 05-25-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Heartbreaking...but beautifully written."

    This book is excellently written, I felt like this tragic love story was much longer then it was because the characters draw you in immediately. I could picture the scenes vividly as they were being read. I am amazed the timelessness of Wharton's writing.
    I went through a myriad of emotions reading this book...Injustice, anger, hope, and heartbreak.
    I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because the ending made me sad...but I highly suggest this classic piece of literature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lottie G. (New York) 10-29-12
    Lottie G. (New York) 10-29-12 Member Since 2009

    "avid reader"

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    "The Power of a Classic"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ethan Frome to be better than the print version?

    I was reminded once again of the power of this classic novel. A relentlessly sad story told with such humanity and intelligence. Also loved the female narrator. Imagined it was Wharton reading her novel aloud.


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

    Wuthering Heights


    What does C.M. Hebert bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The warmth of a human voice, a female voice, helps the reader navigate this bleak tale.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Be careful what you wish for


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas New York, NY, United States 03-07-11
    Thomas New York, NY, United States 03-07-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Ethan Frome"

    An early twentieth century psychological thriller of sorts. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton written in 1911. It was one of those stories that you just didn’t know what to think about the husband falling in love with his wife’s cousin (Mattie) who was working at the house to assist the sickly wife, Zenobia. The setting was in a fictitious New England town, Starkfield. It starts as a current day where we are introduced to Frome, and then back in time to learn why Frome is lame. Over the course we learn of the love triangle that develops and Frome and his Mattie get closer and closer. Frome lies to his wife about venturing on an out of town trip, so he can be with Mattie. During the time together Mattie breaks the wedding present dish (signaling the end of the marriage), the cat just happens to knock over. After Zenobia returns she learns of the broken gift and tries to understand why. Zenobia pushes Frome to gain resources to pay Mattie when she is told by her doctor she can no longer keep the house, Frome tries to borrow money but is rebuffed. Realizing that they will have to let Mattie go, Frome and Mattie concoct a plan to commit suicide together by riding a sleigh downhill into trees. Frome’s guilt about his wife gets to him at the last minute and he avoids a direct hit, while Mattie is paralyzed. The last chapter fast forward to where we started with Zenobia now taking care of Mattie and Frome in his own pain losing the chance to be with Mattie and having his wife now care for her. Watch what you wish for huh? The pains of Frome and his inability to escape his own farm, the cemetery of his family is literally his ball and chain. How I often think how the things are family wants for us can become our own demise. Frome could never escape and ends watching the one he loves being cared for the one he was incapable of taking care of. Good depth of story. A quick read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 08-10-10
    Amazon Customer Utah 08-10-10 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "Kind of a downer"

    What an odd little story. This is a book I have had on my list for a long, long time. I must say it was a little disappointing. The irony of the ending makes it worth the read, but I just had a hard time caring about these characters. I'm glad it was a short book because I couldn't have handled much more. I have two more Edith Wharton books on my to-read list, but I'm not sure now if I'll ever read them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Oregon 04-23-10
    Pamela Oregon 04-23-10 Member Since 2009
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    "finally..."

    I think I must be the only person I know who made it through High School without having read Ethan Frome. I am glad I finally did. What a wonderful piece of writing. Ethan is such a tragic character and so well drawn.
    I am now inclined to read more Wharton.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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