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Ethan Frome and Summer

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  444 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
This edition presents Wharton's two most controversial stories, which she considered inseparable, in one volume for the first time. Set in frigid New England, both deal with sexual awakening and appetite and their devastating consequences. This text includes newly commissioned notes.
Paperback, 274 pages
Published May 8th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1911)
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Feb 19, 2012 Tifnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tifnie by: Sue
Shelves: fiction
Oh my gosh - I can't read Summer after having read Ethan frome. Not a big fan of Edith Wharton.

Ethan Frome is about a late-20-something man; married, burdened, failing in his marriage and failing in his farming business. In comes Mattie, a wayward child of just 20 who captivates his heart. Ethan is all in a dither on how to act around her as his wife starts to realize having this young girl in her home is not the best idea. When his wife hires (another) girl to care for her during her failing he
Aug 31, 2014 LG rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: high school and older
If you’ve heard of Wharton, you probably recognize Ethan Frome, published in 1911 and still her best-known novel. The companion piece is not nearly as famous, but I can see why they belong together. Although not set in upper-crust New York like most of Wharton’s fiction, both short novels offer just as fascinating an insight into the young lover’s hot-blooded struggle against polite society. Presenting the stories in chronological order, this edition offers an equivalent to a whole House of Mirt ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it
First things first: Skip the Elizabeth Stroud introduction (explanation below).

I think the Harry Potter series has ruined the name Lucius for me. Or am I not the only person who sees that name now and thinks evil?

The love interest in Summer is named Lucius, and while Ms. Wharton could not have know that, several decades after she penned her story, another author would use that name and create a wonderfully memorably bad guy, as a reader, I couldn’t escape the foreboding feeling that Ms. Wharton’
Simon Mcleish
Jan 17, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Originally published on my blog here and here in February 2002.

Ethan Frome

There is often a tendency to romanticise American rural life in the days before modern communication, because people admire what they call the "pioneer spirit". When reading accounts from the time, such as the bleaker parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoirs or Sinclair Lewis' Main Street, or this novel, it is clear that it was not in the least an idyllic existence; it was lonely hard work for (in many cases) little return.
Oct 29, 2013 Lexy rated it it was amazing
I would imagine that when these stories were first published, Edith Wharton probably received a few unfavorable comments due to the sexual content. No, she didn't get descriptive, so if you have never read these stories and you're looking for some good word porn, this is not it. I'm confident that in 1917, it may have been considered as such though. One of the footnotes in the book refers to a comment made my Nathaniel Hawthorne after the publishing of "The Lamplighter" by Susan Maria Cummins, " ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Gail rated it really liked it
A nice pairing of two contrasting short novels by Wharton. The utter bleakness of Ethan Frome (Why, oh why, do they make you read this in high school? Is it because they think teens are depressed and moody and that somehow this book will please them, or perhaps give comfort because others actually have it worse? Who knows?) is offset by the slightly more cheerful Summer.

The winter setting of Frome, with the complete claustrophobia of pre-automobile rural New England, is a perfect device for the
Two very depressing novels for the price of one, these stories run together for me. I had to read these for a literature course, and I cannot say that I enjoyed them much. Both are sad and tragic tales of ill-fated love amid the seasons of claustrophobic New England life. More than anything, I just felt sorry for these miserable people caught in communal desolation. The helplessness these characters exhibit is not completely inflicted; it is partially a learned trait assumed because they do not ...more
Lisa James
Jan 02, 2012 Lisa James rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001-books-list
This edition contained 2 novellas. Ethan Frome was a darker tale, ultimately about a man's love for a girl at all costs, & the consequences of the actions taken. It played out as rather dark, but it was fascinating. Summer, the other tale in this edition, was a story about the life of a girl brought down from The Mountain, to be raised by the richest family in town who couldn't have children of their own, & the choices she makes when she grows up & falls in love for the first time wi ...more
Chad Schimke
Feb 18, 2012 Chad Schimke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
ETHAN FROME - Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a compact and highly effective novella. Wharton describes a tragically dysfunctional love triangle with deeply developed characters. The mood is starkly austere and bitterly cold; exploring the themes of morals and values. It’s a frame story; where the prologue and epilogue, written in first person, constitute a frame around the main story, written in third person. A key turning point in the novel is a “mash-up” that has enduring effects on the main ...more
Nov 03, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing
Ethan Frome is one of those books I will never forget. Perhaps aided by the fact that I chose it as my study piece in HS english, but I think more so because it is SO beautifully written.
The story is bitterly tragic, but I can't help but love this book! Edith Wharton writes with such skill. She uses powerful imagery, use of color (and often lack thereof, i.e "white"), even carefully selected pronouns to create setting and, even better, emotion. Most would agree this book left them cold, frigid,
Nov 19, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
A silent brutality. Every blaze of glory that Edith Wharton conjures is choked by life, by circumstance, by accident, into such a dull ember that it not only chills the passions but barely keeps the heart warm.
Doriana Bisegna
Jan 09, 2014 Doriana Bisegna rated it really liked it
Before starting these two novels in one, I was sure that I would find them passé and boring. Once again, I was wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed Edith Wharton's writing ... it was compelling to say the least. Her character's faults and strengths appeal to the modern reader because we all have those same urges and we all experience those same failures. Time and place have little to do with human emotion and human nature. This is why Edith Wharton's writing is timeless..
oops. i guess i am behind on updating my goodreads page... i read this a few months ago, so i don't remember all of the ins and outs of the two stories, but what i do remember is this: depressing!! reading the stories sure made me feel like my life is quite grand!! both ethan frome and charity royall are sooooo tortured, both pining for love they know in their hearts they cannot have.

i really enjoyed reading both stories and devoured them in less than a week. if you are looking for some classic
It effected me deeply. I'm kind of lost now without another Wharton to read.
Ally Wampler
Oct 15, 2015 Ally Wampler rated it liked it
Loved ethan frome. Irony at it's finest. Summer was depressing and not very interesting either.
Nov 16, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: long-time-ago
It's interesting how some books have stayed with me a lifetime and others, even ones I've enjoyed while reading them, fade so completely that I can not remember the title or the author. Ethan Frome falls in the former category. I initially read this book in high school, re-read it during a period when I was focused on reading classics, books that have stood the test of time. I still find myself thinking about Ethan Frome from time to time.
Apr 01, 2010 Gretchen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While this is of course classic American literature I think I might of been too young when I first read it--it was just too bleak for me. With all of the books on my to-read list I am waffling about going back to re-read these as somehow I feel compelled to like them. I love the story of my purchase though--we stayed in Stockbridge Mass on a trip out to Boston one summer and we stumbled upon a great little bookshop.
Jun 18, 2011 Patrick rated it it was amazing
These two novellas represent literature in its highest form. Ethan Frome is intense, haunting, and tragic; Summer is subtle, controversial in its subject matter (for its time), and ultimately also tragic. They don't give out Pulitzers to just any writer--Wharton won it for The Age of Innocence, becoming the first woman to win the award. I may have to place her on my Mount Rushmore of American novelists.

Jul 12, 2013 Beth rated it it was ok
Bleak and very depressing which I guess is what the intention was in the first place. I am trying to decide if Wharton's House of Mirth is even a more grim morality tale than Ethan Frome but right now they are both tied in first place for Ultimate Bleak and Depressing Important American Novels You Are Supposed to Read. But hey, what do I know-haven't read American Tragedy and so many others of similar ilk....
Sister Pam
Aug 24, 2011 Sister Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wharton wrote a haunting tale that presents the reader with an opportunity to become a voyeur into the flawed, dysfunctional lives of its characters. The story becomes all the more disturbing in light of today's sociopolitical ideologies. Sometimes it seems that Wharton shrilly declares, "You made your bed, now lie in it." Perhaps, that is the intended irony that makes this one of her best known books.
Dec 02, 2011 Meghan rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, gender
We've got an earnest man, the young woman he loves, oh, and the bitter woman he married all under the same roof! A tale of poverty, Ethan must decide whether to resign himself to a life that is torturously bleak or make a move. I will never again conjure images of winter in New England without seeing Wharton's vivid depiction of snow and isolation. This story is what I call a 'real downer'.
Upon a non-literary friend's recommedation, I read Ethan Frome when I was at college. Last Christams I bought this edition which includes Summer which I began when elf was an infant, but it fell by the wayside, and then I couldn't find
Sep 25, 2008 Jodi rated it liked it
I liked these stories but at first I thought that they weren't satisfying because they didn't have happy endings. But now I've decided that it is just that the books end in a wierd place and you don't really know what happens to the people. Good though.
Sep 07, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
As good as it is to have these two together as companions, (it invites some interesting comparisons) it is not much of a critical edition. The intro offers more biography and summary than insight, and the footnotes are nothing more than a glossary of terms.
Sep 18, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
This is the second time I read Ethan Frome--it's a classic and a pleasure to reread. I can see the similarities between Summer and Ethan Frome--both have sad ironic endings. I like Edith Wharton's writing style. (Book Club Mar 2014)
Sep 20, 2011 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ethan Frome is a devastating story. Summer is shocking for the topic it covers and the era during which it was written. I've read almost all Edith Wharton books and find these two stories and House of Mirth to be the best.
Jul 14, 2016 Brierly rated it really liked it
These two novellas pair well together. Ethan Frome, which could be subtitled Winter, provides a nice foil to Summer. I thought Summer in itself was one of Wharton's best works. Four stars.
May 24, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
THIS is literature! Please tell me if you know of other books that are in captivating and interesting as Edith Wharton's. I highly recommend this for the person that has given up on fiction.
Mar 18, 2010 Anita rated it it was amazing
I love Edith Wharton. Her writing is beautiful and sad and she captures lonliness in her characters like no other. Read these stories and be thankful you live where and when you do.
Christine Granados
Aug 04, 2008 Christine Granados rated it liked it
Read Summer and at first found it read like a YA novel but upon further reading I enjoyed the complexities of small town life. Worth reading especially after the first two chapters.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born 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 a ...more
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