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Ethan Frome [with Biographical Introduction]

Ethan Frome [with Biographical Introduction] [Kindle Edition]

Edith Wharton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Description


with each volume having an introduction by an acknowledged expert, and exhaustive notes, the World's Classics are surely the most desirable series and, all-round, the best value for money Oxford Times This love story has an emotional intensity made all the more poignant by the inarticulate reticence of Wharton's characters - a menage a trois consisting of Frome, his querulous wife and her young girl cousin. With quiet assurance, Wharton conveys passion, malaise and tragedy with memorable impact. Sophia Sackville-West, Evening Standard (London) Ethan Frome is one of Edith Wharton's most famous novels and rightly so. It is exquisitely written by an author with remarkable observation and imagination. Ethan Frome is a novel which extinguishes hope and blows away happiness but it is so powerful as an analysis of waste that it is nothing short of a masterpiece. Madeleine Burton, Herts Advertiser


'Wharton's prose, with its menacing images of death and darkness, is superb...'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 225 KB
  • Print Length: 73 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846376424
  • Publisher: (30 Mar 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1CFU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #359,651 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard, cold tragedy 18 Mar 2005
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
"Ethan Frome" is a novel carved from black ice. It is a tragedy unalleviated by humour, with nothing to ease the iron grip of a malign Fate. Superbly written, uncompromisingly tragic, full of striking and memorable winter landscape imagery, with an ending that is unexpected and thought-provoking, it is undeniably great literature. I just felt that the profound sadness of the tale somehow compromised the artistic integrity. Edith Wharton experienced much sorrow in her own life and I think this somewhat narrowed her vision. So be prepared for a novel that will move you, impress you and stay with you, but is not likely to put a smile on your face or a spring in your step!
In the same vein, look for Gillian Anderson's astonishing performance in the film version of Wharton's "The House of Mirth" (a misnomer if ever there was). Not always easy to take, it is tragic acting at its brilliant best.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will make you cry! 8 July 2003
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, is perhaps the most tragic novel I have had the pleasure to read. Athlough suprisingly short, Wharton manages to create an intricate and complex plot, extreme depth of character and a sensitive yet shocking sense of reality. Altough as much a 'sign of the times' as 'The Age of Innocence' the central theme of this novel is the contempory relationships between the characters and the prinicipal interest is the often bizare mix of betray and intense loyalty portrayed. When the climax comes at the end of the text, the contained emotions of Ethan and Mattie are allowed release, the consequences manefested in disasterous and shocking results. The novel's conclusion is doused with irony and both emotional and physical desolation. It was certainly not written as a 'feel good' novel, but Wharton's delicate, yet brutal portrayal of the close relationships of the three central characters, I believe makes it a must read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We shall never be alone again like this" 3 Aug 2007
Edith Wharton filled her novels with a feeling of ruin, passion and restriction. People can fall in love, but rarely do things turn out well.

But but few of even her books can evoke the feeling of "Ethan Frome," whick packs plenty of emotion, vibrancy and regrets into a short novella. While the claustrophobic feeling doesn't suit her writing well, she still spins a beautiful, horrifying story of a man facing a life without hope or joy.

It begins nearly a quarter of a century after the events of the novel, with an unnamed narrator watching middle-aged, crippled Ethan Frome drag himself to the post-office. He becomes interested in Frome's tragic past, and hears out his story.

Ethan Frome once hoped to live an urban, educated life, but ended up trapped in a bleak New England town with a hypochondriac wife, Zeena, whom he didn't love. But then his wife's cousin Mattie arrives, a bright young girl who understands Ethan far better than his wife ever tried to. Unsurprisingly, he begins to fall in love with her, but still feels an obligation to his wife.

But then Zeena threatens to send Mattie away and hire a new housekeeper, threatening the one bright spot in Ethan's dour life. Now Ethan must either rebel against the morals and strictures of his small village, or live out his life lonely. But when he and Mattie try for a third option, their affair ends in tragedy.

Wharton was always at her best when she wrote about society's strictures, morals, and love that defies that. But rather than the opulent backdrop of wealthy New York, here the setting is a bleak, snowy New England town, appropriately named Starkfield. It's a good reflection of Ethan Frome's life, and a good illustration of how the poor can be trapped.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great American classic 22 Dec 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ethan Frome is a farmer in Starkfield, Massachusetts, at the beginning of the 20th century. He is unhappily married to Zenobia (Zeena), a suspicious, hypochondriac, bitter, narrow-minded, ignorant and discontented woman. He is strongly attracted to Zeena's cousin Mattie Silver who shares their household and is entrusted with all the chores which Zeena refuses to do. Ethan's tragic fate begins when Zeena peremptorily decides that they need a "hired girl" which would of course imply Mattie's departure since the Fromes don't have the means to employ two girls.
A novel of great intensity with its slow developing tragedy and characters plunging towards their destiny. The author's masterful economy of language vividly renders the oppressive "silent ache" that permanently hinders communication between Ethan and Zeena. The vision of the three main characters is done in an almost cinematic way as they are trapped indoors in the severe Massachusetts winter. The narrative pattern is original too since the whole plot is told by an unnamed narrator who met the taciturn Ethan many years after the events he is about to tell us. The reader has moments of doubt when the narrator tells a story in all details and long passages of dialogue he could not possibly have known or heard during his meeting with Ethan. But Edith Wharton's extraordinary craft makes the story break away from the contingencies of the frame and it comes to moving life for the reader. A superb novel, one of the finest and most intense narratives in the history of American literature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and intriguing
Beautifully written short story. Evocative of the period and place. Rather depressing, but with an interesting twist.
Published 12 days ago by Lovebooks
2.0 out of 5 stars A classic Ha Ha
This story begins after several pages of uneccesary introduction almost as if the writer tried to justify its content. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Edwin Donald
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT WINTER READING!
I found it a real page turner, whilst being beautifully written. I will be looking out for more books from this author.
Published 5 months ago by CARRIE
5.0 out of 5 stars Edith Wharton book
Book was recommended to a book club. Really enjoyed the descriptive passages. Ethan was a gentleman with a lonely life.
Published 7 months ago by Irene Chenery
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad little tale
Wasn't sure what to make of this but gradually warmed to it. It is a tragedy very well written and hardships depicted and emotions are very affecting.
Published 10 months ago by Mrs Lofts
5.0 out of 5 stars Power and delicacy.
I find no problem with using the word "novella" to describe this beautiful and painful tale. In no way does it diminish the force of the book, nor point to anything more than its... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bluecashmere.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely quick story!
It is a lovely story, I suppose it's the ending that was quite disapointing, but you can't always have happy ending's so I understand. Very good book though!
Published 13 months ago by lotte_marshmallow
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A very well written book which uses few words to make you really feel that you are there. A tersely written and well observed piece.
Published 19 months ago by Kia Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I heard this was about to be serialised on Radio 4 and, as it was offered at a very good price with Amazon, decided to read it for myself first. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2012 by Linden Lea
5.0 out of 5 stars If angels could write ......
Disliking the dreadful term novella, this reviewer prefers to categorize Ethan Frome as a `lengthy short story, for while considerably longer than the average short story it's less... Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2012 by Molly Marsden
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it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter... &quote;
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But now, as he stood outside the church, and saw Mattie spinning down the floor with Denis Eady, a throng of disregarded hints and menaces wove their cloud about his &quote;
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"We never got away—how should you?" seemed to be written on every headstone; and whenever he went in or out of his gate he thought with a shiver: "I shall just go on living here till I join them." But &quote;
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