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Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
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Ethan Frome (original 1911; edition 2005)

by Edith Wharton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,621217821 (3.62)780
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.… (more)
Member:slayerjasmine
Title:Ethan Frome
Authors:Edith Wharton
Info:Penguin Classics, Paperback, 99 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read

Work Information

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911)

  1. 30
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (kxlly)
  2. 20
    Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In Remembering Laughter a woman confronts her husband's escalating use of alcohol; in Ethan Frome the title character's wife is difficult and demanding. Both novels elegantly depict a husband obsessed with his wife's sister, resulting in a love triangle with tragic consequences.… (more)
  3. 10
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (PilgrimJess)
    PilgrimJess: Another tale of a character seeming weighed down by social and moral constraints.
  4. 10
    Kamouraska by Anne Hébert (charlie68)
    charlie68: Similar themes
  5. 00
    The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1Owlette)
  6. 00
    Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton (FernandoH)
  7. 00
    Bewitched [Short Story] by Edith Wharton (aprille)
  8. 01
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (charlie68)
  9. 05
    Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx (1Owlette)
1910s (1)
AP Lit (154)
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» See also 780 mentions

English (212)  Spanish (4)  French (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
“He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of it's frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.”

Don't fall for the old myth that classics are boring. This novella of forbidden love, originally published in 1911, is filled with emotion. I didn't want to stop listening to the audio.

Wharton tells the tale of Ethan Frome, his hypochondriac wife Zeena, and Zeena's cousin Mattie Silver. The landscape of Starkfield, MA (particularly the cold, barren winters) is as much of a character as any of the people in the story.

Young Ethan is interested in science and engineering. He wants to escape the nothingness of Starkfield and move to a larger town where people are interested in ideas and education. He loves nature, but has no interest in agriculture. Unfortunately life's circumstances keep him tethered to Starkfield and the family farm. He marries Zeena, though they aren't well-suited. When Zeena's cousin Mattie comes to live with them, he sees an alternative to his bleak life. With Mattie in the house Ethan has a new lease on life -- though his interactions with her are completely chaste. This happiness is short-lived; however. Why? You'll have to read the book ;-)

I have to thank my GR friend Julie for encouraging me to read this. I was not disappointed!

4.5 Stars ( )
  jj24 | May 27, 2024 |
Sometimes because I studied literature in college I can't remember whether I have read a book before or not. This was one of those books and I definitely had not read this book before. However, I am glad that I took the time to read it. There is something about a forbidden love-love triangle story that ends in tragedy that is quite satisfying. That seems like a moral judgment but I think it is more about the fact that these situations can seldom end well for any of those involved. Of course, some would point to this as a lesson in morality but that is probably missing the point. The point is that it is very easy to think that a bad situation can be easily escaped with the slightest enticement when in fact that is rarely the case. ( )
  GrammaPollyReads | May 20, 2024 |
Realism? Sure. Naturalism? Sure. Happily ever after? Yeah, well...

This is a good novel. I did actually like it and I think it does a great job of integrating the harshness of the New England winters with the plot. If you look into Wharton's life and understand the history of the setting, I think it's even more enjoyable... but that's just me. Book nerd. Still, I recommend reading it if you haven't. I don't want to give any real spoilers, but I do feel like I should give fair warning that the novel is not likely to give you the warm fuzzies... but it's still worth reading. And, hey, it's on Harold Bloom's gigantic list of titles in the Western Canon... so there's that. ( )
  clamagna | Apr 4, 2024 |
kind of meandering and tedious at times but at the same time a great book that now that i have finished and can look back on is even more enjoyable ( )
  highlandcow | Mar 13, 2024 |
I tend to live in a book-centered world so when I learn of a book or author that intrigues me, I immediately conduct a search and start tagging away for future reading. I’m confident that is exactly how some of Edith Wharton’s novels ended up on my tagged list for my local library. I am new to her writing and wasn’t sure where to begin. I read that Ethan Frome is a reader favorite and it was only a four hour audiobook commitment. I decided this selection was a good place to start.

Immediately, I liked how the audiobook offered an introduction to Edith Wharton with a brief summary of her life and popular works. Ethan Frome is a poor man struggling to keep his family farm and mill operating. His wife, Zeena, is rather unpleasant and a hypochondriac. Her cousin, Mattie, comes to live with Ethan and Zeena to help with the farm and chores around the house due to Zeena’s illness. Mattie is a ray of sunshine to Ethan’s dreary life. As readers would expect, the two fall in love and are determined to be together. The story becomes climatic when the forces of them trying to be together are met with the forces determined to keep them apart. It’s a mesmerizing story with an unexpected ending.

I truly enjoyed this novella by Wharton and look forward to reading more of her work. My book tribe has advised me that her other books are quite different from this one concerning setting. I liked her writing style: her descriptions of scenes and ability to weave an interesting, timeless tale. I predict I will love her work regardless of setting.

I borrowed Ethan Frome in audiobook format from my local library through the Libby app. I absolutely loved the narration by Scott Brick! He is one of my favorite narrators.

I have photos and additional information that I'm unable to include here. It can all be found on my blog, in the link below.
A Book And A Dog ( )
  NatalieRiley | Feb 25, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
It will only take you the afternoon, but it’s shocking snowy ending will leave you pondering it for days.
 

» Add other authors (142 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wharton, Edithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ammons, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amoruso, VitoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Angelini, LucioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anthoensen, FredDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Augelini, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Álvarez Flórez, José ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartelli, JosephIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Basset, JenniferSeries Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Begley, Sarah Higginsonsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belge, TaciserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benitez, PaulaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blackall, Jean FrantzContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, ShebaAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, JeffreyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carabine, KeithSeries editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castro, FranciscoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cheshire, GerardContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooper, Frederic TaberContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dal Fabbro, Emanuelasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Voto, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delaney, KathrynCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ducci, GretiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dupuis, Jean-IvesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fabbro, E. DalTraduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flanagan, MaryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, MarilynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fryer, JudithContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerlings, CharlotteIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giorcelli, Cristinasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffin Wolf, CynthiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grumbach, DorisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hannau, MarcellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hébert, C MNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
He, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hedge, Triciasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, TracyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higginson Begley, SarahEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hope, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houweling, DjukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutchinson, EmilyAbridged edition bysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobs, JoniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaarma, JüriKujundaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kazin, AlfredAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, Paul E.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Killavey, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kingsley, SusanAdaptersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klett, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knights, PamelaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuusik, TerjeToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauer, Kristin O.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, R W BContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leyris, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ljungquist, KentIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lo Porto, TizianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacDonald, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marshall, ScottContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McConnell, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montoto, NatalieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, SusannaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munn, Helen T.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pàmies, XavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pérez, ÁngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peel, EdithEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peel, RobinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pez, GelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pierantoni, LauraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pisanti, TommasoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poor, Henry VarnumIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raphael, LevContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasy, ElisabettaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Recarey Rendo, Celiasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodríguez Barilari, ElbioPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogers, BruceDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenwald, Edith GoodkindDonor.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sage, Lornasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sergeant, Elizabeth ShepleyContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shi, YuanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shreve, AnitaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sims, AdamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singley, Carol J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suursalu, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomanek, JosephCover Artsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trilling, LionelContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Twachtman, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Deusen, E HContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
varez Flez, JosManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaseghi, SamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voto, Bernard DeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waid, CandaceContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wenner, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkie, Pamela ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolff, Cynthia GriffinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolkenstein, JulieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Carroll DContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ziga, CharlesDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. (Author's Introductory Note)
The village lay under two feet of snow, with drifts at the windy corners.
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He never turned his face to mine, or answered, except in monosyllables, the questions I put, or such slight pleasantries as I ventured. He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.
...we came to an orchard of starved apple-trees writing over a hillside among outcroppings of slate that nuzzled up through the snow like animals pushing out their noses to breathe. Beyond the orchard lay a field or two, their boundaries lost under drifts, and above the fields, huddled against the white immensities of land and sky, one of those lonely New England farmhouses that make the landscape lonelier.
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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.

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The setting for this piercing New England novel is the aptly named Starkfield, where, despite violently blue skies, the chill of cold and snow seems also to settle inside the hearts of the people who live there. Tethered to his farm, first by helpless parents, later by his querulous, hypochrondriac wife, Zeena, Ethan Frome ekes out a bare subsistence. Then Zeena's cousin, the impoverished, enchanting Mattie Silver comes to work for them and, in Mattie, Ethan's hopes and dreams are rekindled. Yet theirs is a forbidden love, hemmed in by Zeena's presence. The impossible intensity in which the three exist has devastating consequences...
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