“I was warned that this book is bland and uninteresting, but I thought "Surely it's not as bad as everyone has been telling me!" Well, I wished I had listened to them. Wharton uses an abundance of details to describe the setting and the characters and the back stories, but when it came down to describing the plot and what was physically happening, she would use phrases like, 'They did _____. Then they did _____. After a while, they did ______.' which made for a very boring reading.”Julianna S. wrote this review Wednesday, April 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“short (120 pages), classic, DEPRESSING”Karen wrote this review Saturday, April 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The people are forlorn, threadbare, emotionally stunted, and cantankerous, and somehow the combination makes me laugh. This may be the most fun I’ve ever had with a century-old classic.
This novel might be best described as a New England horse and buggy romantic tragedy, if not for all the Yankee one-liners. Wharton’s language is spare and direct, befitting the snow blanket landscape. There’s no love lost between Ethan and his bitter ever-ailing wife. Cousin Mattie adds a breath of life to their home, and that is clearly dangerous.
The unlabeled epilogue is jarring, and the location of the various villages, farms and trails gets confusing. This is especially frustrating, because local travels and distances are very important to the storyline. But it’s not problematic enough to ruin the fun of gawking at the absurdity of Frome’s unhappy home.
“Another unusual book by Edith Wharton. My heart went out to Ehtan Frome and his sad plight. I found myself with a plethora of emotions. Sadness, frrustration, joy, hope.....all of those feelings that Edith is so good at writing about. If you enjoy Edith Wharton's writing, you'll want to read this unusal story. ”Joen W wrote this review Friday, March 29, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“it was bad ”TheDoctaIzIn wrote this review Thursday, March 28, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a classic first published in1911. Don’t worry, it’s a short one. It’s set in a cold and bleak Massachusetts village where all you see is miles and miles of endless snow. Ethan Frome is married to Zeena. Zeena is no princess warrior. She is an unhappy, sickly shrew of a woman who does not make Ethan’s life easy. Given her failing health, Zeena’s cousin, Mattie, comes to help around the house. Mattie is a breath of fresh air for Ethan. She’s beautiful and she’s nice, and Ethan hasn’t seen nice in a long time. Though they don’t act on it, the attraction is obvious, and Zeena is not happy. No surprise there. One day Zeena leaves town on a two-day trip for a treatment to help with her illness. This is their chance. Do they take it?
I won’t give away the ending, but it’s not what I expected. I will say I really liked the book and I wonder what others think of it.
Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com”
“Very good book.”Edwin L. Brawley wrote this review Thursday, March 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My favorite of Edith Wharton's novels are those set in the center of the New York Society of the "Gilded Age". By contrast Ethan Frome is set in the fictional New England town of Starkfield, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. The narrator tells the story based on an account from observations at Frome's house when he had to stay there during a winter storm.
The novel is framed by an extended flashback. The first chapter opens with an unnamed narrator spending a winter in Starkfield. He attempts to learn about the life of a mysterious local figure named Ethan Frome, a man who had been injured in a horrific “smash-up” twenty-four years before. Frome is described as “the most striking figure in Starkfield”, “the ruin of a man” with a “careless powerful look…in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain”. Throughout the novel Ethan Frome makes ample use of symbolism as a literary device. Reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (also set in New England), Edith Wharton uses the color red against the snowy white background of her Massachusetts setting to symbolize Ethan's cousin Mattie’s attraction and vitality as opposed to his wife Zeena, as well as her temptation to Ethan in general. Wharton uses the cat and the pickle dish to symbolize the failing marriage of Ethan and Zeena; the cat symbolizes Zeena’s presence when Ethan and Mattie are alone, and when it breaks the pickle dish, this symbolizes the final fracturing of the marriage that is rapidly coming as Mattie and Ethan slide closer and closer to adultery.
The story is tragic and very dark in character. Yet Wharton's prose style makes it worth every moment spent reading about Ethan Frome.”
“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.
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