Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome

by Edith Wharton
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Ethan Frome 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 156 reviews.
ILoveClassics More than 1 year ago
I was very skeptical about reading this at first because I love a happy ending. However, Edith Wharton completely changed that with her stark and simple realism that left you thinking there was no better way to end this story than tragically. I read it in 1 sitting... and I think that's the only way to do it with this story! Even though Ethan's relationship with his wife's cousin is borderline immoral... Wharton is able to manipulate your emotions and actually make you feel compassion for these two lovers. I will read this story over and over!
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in a nineteenth-century New England village. Ethan Frome is married to Zeena. Zeena has a great many problems. One of which is her ailing self. It's not clear if she is truly ill, of if her meanness just makes her so, but she is bedridden to the point of needing a helping hand. Mattie, her cousin, comes to help them out. As the three of them spend time together, it's clear that Ethan has fallen hard for Mattie. He secretly catches glimpses of her at the supper table, and finds excuses to be alone with her. Although he hopes that she feels the same way, it's hard to tell as first what Mattie is thinking. However, it's not hard to tell what Zeena is thinking and it's no surprise that she makes it difficult for them in the end. My frustration with this book is that there is really no honor to be had when it comes to Ethan. He loves Mattie, but he doesn't really act upon it in a realistic way. He sort of fumbles along and experiences moments of gushing that you'd expect from a young girl, not a grown man. I mentioned the honor part because it's not really out of a sense of honor that he is with his wife. It's as if he doesn't have the energy to live any differently. He puts up with her but I'm not sure why. Certainly not for money, as they are poor farmers and with her medical costs, there is nothing extra to be had. I wanted to feel something for Ethan, but I felt nothing. It was like downing a glass of wine and having it go right to your head. I was numb to his plight and I felt no pity for him. The end of the book, as seen through a third-party visitor to the house, has got to be one of the most depressing endings ever. Although I didn't love it, there is plenty to discuss. On a funny note, when I saw the cover above, I was thinking torrid love affair, a "roll in the hay" so to speak, but when you read the book you realize the cover has nothing to do with what my dirty, smutty mind was thinking. Too bad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ethan Frome is a tragic story that will manipulate and twist your emotions of what a good relationship is. Ethan and his sickly wife, Zeena, live in a bleak New England countryside. Zeena's younger cousin Mattie comes to help Ethan care for Zeena. Eventually, Mattie and Ethan begin to fall in love. All Ethan can do is think about Mattie and try to spend time with her. On one hand, you're inspired and touched by Ethan and Mattie's love and the hope for their future together, but you also feel bad for Zeena. The ending of the story is surprising and full of irony. This is a fast read, an interesting exploration in romance and relationships as we define them, and a tragic love story between even more tragic characters.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Last week I joined, at the urging of Love at First Book, the Classics Club. What this means is that I vow to read at least 50 classics in 50 years (see my list here). Because classics come with the stigma of being heavy and daunting, I started out with Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton because it’s short and I’ve never read her. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the classics (Pride & Prejudice and Tess of the D’Urbervilles are in my top ten favorite books), but it has been a while since I have read one. Ethan Frome is a story that pits love against duty, demonstrating that the two are not necessarily the same thing. It is, quite possibly, one of the most depressing stories I have ever read. There wasn’t anything catastrophic, per se, but the quiet desperation of Ethan and Mattie was palpable and it broke my heart. Because the story was published in 1911, I imagine the outcome is very different than what it would be if it were written today. This is not a book with a predictably happy ending, and yet it will draw out your sympathetic side. All in all, it was not a bad way to start off the Classics Club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe you read this in school but it is a must read for the more mature reader as it is very thought provoking and good for discussion.
Stevie_Jo More than 1 year ago
This book touched my heart and had me near tears before I was finished with it. The characters and their developments were astounding and the storyline was wonderful. I read it first in high school, then again a few years later. I could read it over and over and it would never lose its intensity.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Unusual story...a hateful wife, an unhappy husband, and a young, naive girl who comes to stay with them.
spincerely on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another that I just read for book club. I never read any Edith Wharton in High School or College, but after visiting her home and reading this book, I feel like I missed out on a lot.
gypsysmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such a sad tragic story but so wonderfully written. Read it.
ysar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tragically and simply romantic, this is one of my favorite books of all-time. Nothing terribly exciting happens...there's no big drama or action. It's just a simple story about simple people with feelings that cannot be acted upon. I can't really describe why this book drew me in. On the surface, it's depressing and bleak, but there is a depth to it that is captivating.
sdunford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hated this book when forced to read it in High School - was shocked to see how much better it got when I reread it as an adult.
trinityM82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So sad, though it can be so hopeful. Excellent study of hu;man nature in such a short book.
elissajanine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I try to have a classic book going on at all times, just there in the background, and this one was thin and quick and easy to read. Wharton's style is light and engaging, her characters interesting, and the whole story just kind of flowed out smoothly. I'm not as compelled by these characters as some of her others, but Ethan Frome's story was a good read and kept me turning the pages, even when I totally knew what was going to happen. It was well-crafted, and I enjoyed it.
Rozax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed invasive oral surgery more than I enjoyed reading this book. All three of them, actually. The first one made me rather sick, due to the general anesthesia. At least the dentist provided anesthetics during the procedure. There was nothing dulling the pain of reading this book. It should NOT be on the required reading list for any high school.
caroren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

A true classic, written with simple beautiful language, this shows us the romance of the 19th century in its tragic form.

BlackSheepDances on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Deceptively short, deceptively simple. Don't miss this fantastic novella, that shows how one bad decision can affect a lifetime. "Marry in haste, repent at leisure" is best personified in this book.It's a perfect cold weather read, and take your time to enjoy the characters. Ethan Frome is a strong man, and despite his disability, you see strength. But as you read more you see that a tremendous weakness on his part, far in the past, affected his entire life.Don't give up on this, because the story has one of the greatest twists in modern English literature. Don't assume too much as you read, as you will be wrong. I made both my sons read this...I think any young man should.
katiekrug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A short, spare novella detailing the doomed relationship between a man and his wife¿s cousin. There are plenty of reviews, so I won¿t rehash any of it. What I found most compelling was Wharton¿s ability to make her reader invest in a story that does little more than detail the bleak landscape of New England and the icy nature of New Englanders¿ emotional existence. A total downer, but a beautifully written and evocative one. I listened to this on audio, narrated by Scott Brick, and will return to the story in printed format at some point, as I think I missed some powerful writing.
osunale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ethan Frome is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books to earn its place as an essential of American literature. Wharton manages to portray an almost Hawthornian tale of the socially taboo with just as powerful an emotional impact.
GBev2008 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wharton is a very good writer and most of the book was pretty compelling, but all the melodrama at the end was a little hard to swallow.Well written, but certainly not the classic I was led to believe.
bung on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a refreshing, albeit bleak, read. A cynical criticism of romance, humourous, symbolic, fabulous.
bexaplex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ethan Frome is House of Mirth made over with a male protagonist and a rural backdrop. Wharton's Starkfield (!) has become the literary epitome of wintry hardscrabble New England. Like Lily Bart, Ethan chooses freedom and happiness. He wants to pay for that choice with his death, but instead pays for it with his life.
bderby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Edith Wharton explores a love triangle not only within a small town, but within a small house. Passion ignites, burns, and dies quickly in this tale of Ethan Frome and his wife's cousin, Mattie. In the end, after a failed (intentionally?) joint-suicide attempt, Ethan, his wife Zenobia, and Mattie live together in misery.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written and constructed, but rather nasty and ugly story. I would recommend it most to fans of Shirley Jackson. Others may find that their dislike for the plot overwhelms any admiration for the prose.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A farmer in turn-of-the-century New England struggles to survive and to make his farm successful. First he is tethered to the land by his helpless parents; then by his ailing wife. When Ethan's wife's alluring cousin comes to stay, she and Ethan become trapped in a hopelessly passionate love affair. Trapped by fear of public condemnation and the bonds of a loveless marriage, Ethan starts down a path which could eventually lead to tragedy for all involved.I had originally wanted to read this book after seeing the movie with Liam Neeson. Mareena and I caught the last part of the movie and were shocked at how sad it was. I love a sad book and Mareena loves the classics. I give this book an A+!
stephcan13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The quiet, dark, cold world of longing that Wharton lulls us into in Ethan Frome is just as irresistable to me now as it was over a decade ago, when I read this short novel for the first time. The world she creates of plain, ordinary people and their plain, ordinary drama could easy fall flat in another author's hands, yet Wharton manages to execute a simple, and ultimately sad story in such an eloquent matter that these "simple" country women and men's lives take on a fascinating qualtiy to be rivaled by the wealthiest socialites and celebrities. Most impressive is her ability to use setting--a brutal northern winter--to reinforce the joy and hopelessness the main characters experience; thus setting becomes a dominant force, if not a character, unto itself. I adore this book and highly recommend it to everyone.