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Ethan Frome / Summer / Bunner Sisters by…
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Ethan Frome / Summer / Bunner Sisters

by Edith Wharton

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802229,916 (4.12)8
Ethan Frome : New England farmer Ethan Frome, trapped in a loveless marriage, falls in love with Mattie Silver, his ailing wife's orphaned cousin, and attempts to free himself from the bonds of small town convention. Summer : A New England girl, contemptuous of and bored by the petty interests of her peers defies the moral strictures of the village to which she has been taken, living with a degenerate group of outlaws and surrendering to clandestine love. Bunner sisters : The constrained but peaceful lives of two spinster shopkeepers are shattered when they meet a man who becomes the unworthy focus of all their pent-up hopes.… (more)

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In a stark New England winter, where the elements enforce solitude and solitude begets depression, one person’s crushed hopes like a domino topple into the next person’s, obliterating them in turn. In Edith Wharton’s classic Ethan Frome, this plot has the advantage of a master’s uncluttered, unerring telling, and American culture is richer for it. If you haven’t taken up this masterpiece, don’t delay any longer.

In this straightforward telling, emotions and hopes shine forth, in high relief. Ethan starts out as a minor figure in a narrative that frames the story, and when we meet him (in his fifties), he’s contorted - physically bent out of shape - from an accident that occurred thirty years prior. The accident was not only physical, but it was also an error of impossible hope, a time when he grabbed a little too greedily for fulfillment.

The bleak and isolating winters of 19th Century New England form the perfect backdrop for this grim tale. The telling is plain and masterful. This famous novella deserves its acknowledged place in the American canon. Anything more on my part would delay you from it needlessly. ( )
  LukeS | Dec 12, 2016 |
reading Ethan Frome. watched Age of Innocence and decided to read that as well...
  tvgrl | Jul 26, 2013 |
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