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Editorial Reviews

An American tragedy, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome is a classic story of repressed love and its costs. Frome and his sickly wife live a farmer's life of fortitude and meager, hard-won comforts until Mattie Silver, a spritely young cousin, moves into their tiny cabin. When tension between Frome's wife and Silver crests, Frome's confused feelings force him into a decision of terrible permanence. Feel the punishing New England winter chill in narrator George Guidall's empathetic reading of a story of love flickering against an icy, puritanical landscape.

Publisher's Summary

When young Mattie Silver arrives at her cousin Zeena Frome's farm in the New England village of Starkfield, no one could have imagined the tale of sublime and thwarted passion which ensues. Starkfield, like so many New England village communities, is a place where the emotional terrain resembles the physical: stony, hard, and snow covered much of the year. Ethan Frome - "the most striking figure in Starkfield" - ekes out a bleak living from his ungenerous farm, until Mattie brings love and a dream of escape. The powerful sway of obligation and duty and Ethan's inherent dignity make this novel a great American tragedy.
(P)1993 by Recorded Books, Inc.; Cover Art by Karen Henrickson Sothoron, ©1993 by Recorded Books, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Guidall's clear, well-modulated voice transports the listener to the stark, cold world of a New England winter." (Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    10
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    6
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    2

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    2
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    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
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  • Overall
  • Tina
  • Nibley, UT, United States
  • 01-20-10

Overall a good story

This is a sad tale, you can see the ending coming (somewhat) because of the initial introduction to the book. I think the narrator did such a fine job, it really made this story work.
This tale is set long ago, before automobiles. All the world is horse drawn carriages. There are no electric lights. Wood stoves heat homes and provide cooking heat. So, in this slower, rural life a man must make a choice. He wants to love and be loved, not be married for the sake of who can care for his family. A sad tale for sure. Had I read a paper version of this book, I think my rating would be a 4. A 4, to me, is something that was pretty good, but it wouldn't be the book I buy to give out as gifts. The narration is what kicked up this rating.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jodee
  • Trinity, FL, United States
  • 10-21-10

Excellent narration and story

The narration for this story is done very well. It helps the reader differentiate the various characters. I am reading many modern American novels for a class and listened to the book and wrote the paper the same day. It is a wonderful story and was brought to life by the narrator. I highly recommend it!.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ethan Frome: An early 20th Century Classic

If you could sum up Ethan Frome in three words, what would they be?

passion, poverty,drama

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ethan Frome?

Ethan sitting at the fireplace after dinner with Mattie, passionate feelings rising while they are alone in the house for the night.

Which scene was your favorite?

Mattie and Ethan confess their love for each other while walking on the Corbury road in the freezing winter night.

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

A story of raising passion and emotional conflicts leading to self destruction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 04-07-17

An Alluring Book about a Tragic Life.

Tragedy, Misery and Witticism combine for a beautiful read. I never include story synopses or spoilers in my reviews, and I am finding this book very difficult to review with those constraints. So this review may be short. But I do have a few comments to make.

Ethan Frome is a tale of tragedy -- and that story grows more difficult with each page. He is a man who wants to escape the obligations of his life at home with a wife he doesn't love, and to do that with her cousin whom he does love. As the story progresses he struggles more and the misery grows. It is difficult to watch him spiral and I found myself rooting for him to escape. I am a married woman -- almost 21 years -- and rarely would I root for a character to leave his wife, but here I did. Ethan seemed lighter and more likable when he was apart from her. He seemed happier. And I found myself hoping that he would run away. Here is the hard part ... I cannot say whether I got what I cheered for without ruining the book, and so I will not.

I will say this: Edith Wharton's facility with the English language is a thing of beauty. She tells this story of misery with lovely words that sometimes made me back up to reread simply because of the allure and artistry. I felt about her book much the same as I feel about the books of Pat Conroy... which is to say I loved it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Well, what else could have been done but what was?

Sadly, the somberness of tone foreshadows the somber situation. Maybe what could have happened to Romeo and Juliet if they had survived???

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not recommended

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It wasn't the listening experience, I didn't like the content.<br/><br/>I really did not like this book. It chronicles the unlucky life of Ethan Frome who has the burden of a mean spirited wife and then falls in love with a relative who comes to live with them. I was pretty uncomfortable the whole book, knowing something bad would happen and not really liking the fact that he was in love with this other woman while the three of them lived at home together. Definitely not recommended.<br/>

Has Ethan Frome turned you off from other books in this genre?

somewhat. There are a lot of really good books out there of other genres.

Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have no complaints with the reading.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

see above

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Hingham, MA, USA
  • 03-05-08

Chapter Increments

The chapter increments in this are all off it says there are only 4 chapters total when in reality there are much more.

1 of 15 people found this review helpful