Ethan Frome (Literary Touchstone Press)

( 39 )

Overview

Edith Wharton's moving tale of illicit passion and unfulfilled longing still resonates with modern readers, especially those struggling with the eternal conflict of desire and responsibility. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Ethan must choose between his invalid wife and the captivating cousin who comes to help manage the house. One unguarded moment and a single thoughtless act give rise to devastating consequences that will haunt Ethan for the remainder of his life.

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Ethan Frome

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Overview

Edith Wharton's moving tale of illicit passion and unfulfilled longing still resonates with modern readers, especially those struggling with the eternal conflict of desire and responsibility. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Ethan must choose between his invalid wife and the captivating cousin who comes to help manage the house. One unguarded moment and a single thoughtless act give rise to devastating consequences that will haunt Ethan for the remainder of his life.

This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Edition includes a glossary and reader's notes to help the reader fully appreciate the depth of Wharton's characters and their intricate relationships.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580495851
  • Publisher: Prestwick House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Literary Touchstone Press
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Edith Wharton
One of America's most important novelists, Edith Wharton was a refined, relentless chronicler of the Gilded Age and its social mores. Along with close friend Henry James, she helped define literature at the turn of the 20th century, even as she wrote classic nonfiction on travel, decorating and her own life.

Biography

Edith Newbold Jones was born January 24, 1862, into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable Literary Success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.

The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 -- the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Age of Innocence.

Good To Know

Upon the publication of The House of Mirth in 1905, Wharton became an instant celebrity, and the the book was an instant bestseller, with 80,000 copies ordered from Scribner's six weeks after its release.

Wharton had a great fondness for dogs, and owned several throughout her life.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Edith Newbold Jones Wharton (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 24, 1862
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      August 11, 1937
    2. Place of Death:
      Saint-Brice-sous-ForĂȘt, France

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 7, 2010

    Short, sour, and to the point!

    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!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tragic, depressing and grim.

    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

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Ethan Frome is a tragic story that will manipulate and twist you

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Last week I joined, at the urging of Love at First Book, the Cla

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    Ughhh

    I had to read this for school, and I did not like it at all. It started out depressing, became even more depressing as the story progressed, and ended in a very depressing way. Throughout the entire story, the only glimmer of hope that Ethan had was cheating on his wife with her cousin; very immoral. Then, that hope was lost too, after the accident, and he was stuck with two sad, whiny, bitter ladies and lived a sad, hopeless life.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Kiss your hand 3 timeslook under your pillow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Kiss your hand3 times post this three times looke under your pillow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Interesting but irritating....

    This novel did not really interest me until I got towards the middle. I was eager to know how it would end and when I finally did, I was dissapointed. Great story, horrible ending.

    P.S. ... don't read this book if you don't like big words.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    Somewhat Interesting, But Very Dull

    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton was a story about a man who wished to escape the means of his awful town. He falls in love with the one bright soul in the entire place, and no matter how much he loves her, he still feels that he has to keep a moral bond with his actual wife, Zeena, who is a cruel and cold woman. Overall, the storyline is actually quite interesting, but the way that it is explained is just very dull and dreary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Lousy copy

    This is a lousy copy, spacing spelling etc is awful. A person and not just a computer is needed to make sure that it looks good and is readable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Story

    I like to read stories that lean toward a "happy ending" and that's exactly what this one did. It leaned that way. I enjoyed the narrator's perspective Ethan's situation. I plan to re-read it some day after I've recovered from the realism.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    T.Hollis Good Idea, Poorly executed

    Ethan Frome is the story of a man who, following the death of his father, gives up his education and other opportunities to return to the family farm to support his ailing mother. When his mother dies, Ethan, overcome by loneliness, impulsively marries Zeena Pierce, an older cousin who helped nurse his dying mother. Within a year of their marriage, Zeena becomes sick and Ethan must again assume the role of caregiver and give up his dreams of moving to a large town and becoming an engineer. Ethan then meets Mattie, Zeena's Cousin, and falls in love. Mattie is happy and the opposite of Zeena. Ethan can't divorce Zeena because that would be rude and against the time periods values, so Ethan and Mattie come up with a plan that will change thier lives forever.

    Its an ok novel. None of the characters are fun, except Mattie, so the tone is very depressing. The plot was a good idea but poorly executed. Mattie and Ethan should have ended up together, but no Edith Wharton had to make it a sad book. I personally could have finished the book better. Ethan makes me depressed because he is always suffering for other people and overall the book is depressing. Depressing = 5 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2006

    Winter

    This book was okay, besides the fact that it moved slower than a New England winter. It needed a little more action and suspense, but Edith Wharton writes well. I liked how short it was.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    A book of infidelity...

    Ethan Frome was a very well written book. Its imagery was amazing. Such as when there were any descriptions of Mattie. The book is about this man named Ethan who is unhappy with the woman he married named Zeena. He married her because she was the person who looked after and took care of his sick mother and he felt obligated to marry her. He then meets and falls in love with Zeenas cousin Mattie who lives with them for approximately a year because her mother and father both died. They both want to leave Starkfield the town they were living in but they couldn¿t because of their obligation to Zeena. They try to kill them-selves but couldn't and end up mutilating their bodies. I recommend this book to readers because it is a quick and easy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2003

    Ethan Frome: a story of tragedy, intrigue

    A very readable book with visually appealing text...this book was assigned to our Juniors Honors Class by Ms. Goff. She recommended this book, she liked it. At first, it's such a depressing novel with depressing details, however, it redeems itself in message. My chem. teacher read this book 25 years ago and would love to read the story again. Yes, it's a tragedy, but perhaps it was meant to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    A Bad dream

    Ethan Frome is a alright book about everthing dreary and depressing.Everything about the story, even the name of the town, starkfield is designed to accomplish this image.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2001

    A good ending

    I think this book was one of those books that is really hard to get through and in some places boring, but once you got to the end, then you could piece together everything that happened and then you could realize that it was an actually OK book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2001

    A beautifully written tale of tragic love and unbearable hardship.

    It is a masterpiece. It was one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Wharton uses so much imagery and metaphor in her writing that it captivates you. The story itself is sad, yes, but it is wonderful! While some may dislike the ending, I feel that it is the true irony and most fascinating part of the book. Had the book ended differently, Wharton's message would not have been effectively conveyed. I highly recommend the book to anyone, for it is not long and is fairly easy to understand. Why people shy away from the classics in literature I will never understand, because they are wonderfully insightful and are some of the best books you can find.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001

    Ethan Frome is now one my favorite novels

    I read Ethan Frome and fell in love with the novel and cried when I read it. This is one of the most beautiful tragdies I have ever read. Ethan's love for Mattie is more real than most love stories today because they couldn't be together. Fate is a cruel substance who deals the worst punsihments to the good. Nice guys finish last. Ethan is that nice guy who deserves to be with the woman he loves who loves him back, to have a career that he loves, but fate dealt a different set of cards.

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