ETHAN FROME is set in the fictional New England town of Starkfield, where a visiting engineer tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with a history of thwarted dreams and desires. The accumulated longing of Frome ends in an ironic turn of events. His initial impressions are based on his observations of Frome going about his mundane tasks in Starkfield, and something about him catches the eye and curiosity of the visitor, but no one in the town seems interested in revealing many details about the man or his history-or perhaps they are not able to. The narrator ultimately finds himself in the position of staying overnight at Frome's house in order to escape a winter storm, and from there he observes Frome and his private circumstances, which he shares and which triggers other people in town to be more forthcoming with their own knowledge and impressions.
Ethan Frome was written while Edith Wharton was living at The Mount, her home in Lenox, Massachusetts. Wharton likely based the story on an accident that she had heard about in 1904 in Lenox, Massachusetts. Five people total were involved in the real-life accident, four girls and one boy.
"a compelling and haunting story." -The New York Times
"...after all, the tragedy unveiled to us is social rather than personal... "Ethan Frome" is to me above all else a judgment on that system which fails to redeem such villages as Mrs. Wharton's Starkfield."
-Literary critic and author Edwin Bjorkman
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About the Author
Born into a prosperous New York family, Edith Wharton (1862-1937) wrote more than 15 novels, including The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and other esteemed books. She was distinguished for her work in the First World War and was the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Letters from Yale University. She died in France at the age of 75.
Date of Birth:January 24, 1862
Date of Death:August 11, 1937
Place of Birth:New York, New York
Place of Death:Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France
Education:Educated privately in New York and Europe