Ethan Frome, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


With an Introduction by Dr Pamela Knights, Department of English Studies, Durham University.

With this intensely moving short novel, Edith Wharton set out 'to draw life as it really was' in the lonely villages and desolate farms of the harsh New England mountains.

Through the eyes of a visitor from the city, trapped for a winter in snowbound Starkfield, readers glimpse the hidden histories of this austere and beautiful land.

Piecing together the story of monosyllabic Ethan Frome, his grim wife, Zeena, and Mattie Silver, her charming cousin, Wharton explores psychological dead-lock:frustration, longing, resentment, passion.

First published in 1911, the novella stunned its public with its consummate handling of the unfolding drama, and has remained for many readers the most compelling and subtle of all Wharton's fiction.



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

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.

Review by

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.

Review by

Such a sad tragic story but so wonderfully written. Read it.

Review by

Bottom line: "Ethan Frome" (EF) is a kick-ass great book. My son (a Wharton fan) suggested it as an introduction to Wharton's writing, but cautioned that it was a glum tale. Even reading the book while living alone in chilly northern Japan last winter, I felt mesmerized by the quality of Wharton's writing and her sympathetic tone. The story was very compelling, the main characters all seemed plausible and worthy of sympathy, and the agony of unrequited passion between Ethan and Mattie felt palpable. Maybe I am naive...but, for me, the ending was a great surprise. It pleased and saddened me. Finally, the author's masterful and confident prose floored me as well. Not to sound like a pedantic twit, but Wharton's use of semicolon constructions struck me as unusually impactful and exemplary.

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