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Ethan Frome & Selected Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  13,327 ratings  ·  93 reviews
One of Edith Wharton s few works of fiction that takes place outside of an urban, upper-class setting, Ethan Frome draws upon the bleak, barren landscape of rural New England. A poor farmer, Ethan finds himself stuck in a miserable marriage to Zeenie, a sickly, tyrannical woman, until he falls in love with her visiting cousin, the vivacious Mattie Silver. As Mattie is forc ...more
ebook, 274 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1911)
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Esteban del Mal
Ethan Frome is one of those stories that people have a strong reaction to, typically in the negative. And if you read it and rated it one or two stars, you probably don't like it because you think everyone falls somewhere on the Seth Rogan/Tony Robbins spectrum of affable enthusiasm for life. You probably also grew-up in some nondescript suburb which you never moved from, most of your friends are white, and if not, they at least share your taste in chain restaurants and are consistently, non-thr ...more
Sadness. The ultimate feeling I have upon leaving behind Ethan Frome is one of infinite sadness. Sadness for people stuck - stuck in poverty, stuck in relationships that lack even friendliness, let alone love, stuck in a life they can never leave behind. To watch the transformation of Ethan and Mattie from people filled with such passion to people so broken and alone filled me with such an ache.

That's the kind of story Ethan Frome is - one that leaves me aching. Aching with sadness for happiness
Sam Flanagan
Though not set in her typical circles of socialite aristocracy, Ethan Frome carries the distinct flavor of Edith Wharton. Her firm grasp of the human struggle for independence and understanding is pervasive and profound. Ethan is the embodiment of the awakened romantic who is bound to a constricting and outdated system of social norms and moralities, and the dreary landscape of a small Connecticut town in the dead of winter serves as the realized metaphor of the paralyzing hopelessness that Fro ...more
The bleak New England setting of Ethan Frome helps set the tone for this rather bleak little novel.
Ethan Frome is a poor, down trodden, and in my opinion weak willed farmer. He is married to Zeena, a hypochondriac, uncommunicative, rigid, complaining, manipulative (I could go on...) woman.
When Zeena's destitute cousin Mattie Silver moves in with the Fromes Ethan quickly becomes enamored with the young, happy woman who seems to be the exact opposite of his wife in every way. Ethan finds himself b
Oh my god, the things Edith does to her characters! All of these stories were great. Ethan Frome is obviously a deserved classic, but my favorite was "The Pretext" which broke my heart in one million places. After the emotional turmoil of those two stories, I was happy to end on the hilarious note that was "Xingu."
Jeni Enjaian
I did not enjoy this book. However, my lack of enjoyment was much different than the lack I just wrote about in my review of "The Good Soldier" by Ford Maddox Ford.
The primary reason that I did not enjoy this book was the incredibly depressing nature of the primary story, "Ethan Frome," and the morbid slant of the other stories included in the collection.
Wharton created a fluid narrative free of confusion that admirably tugged at the reader's heartstrings. That much is true about "Ethan Frome."
Mar 25, 2013 Charly rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Ethan Frome and the other selected stories were a bit on the transparent side for me. Perhaps for their time they were more engrossing, but it wasn't a thrilling adventure for me.

Frome is a man caught between two lives and in trying to deal with it ends up caught in yet another.

Predictable and not something I move right to the top of my "to read" list.
Alex Milledge
If I read this book before reading Wharton's age of innocence, I would have been spared from saying much negative about her as an author.

I have never read a book that made me want to cry than Ethan Frome.

Well, maybe with the exception of when Piggy died in The Lord of the a Flies, but I can strongly relate to the struggles of Ethan Frome, in how he lives in a world that severely restricts his freedom and wishes to love a girl that he can't have. All of these emotions swelled in me and made me f
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Ethan Frome left shocked. Just yesterday, I was marvelled with the enchantment of the lonely world Edith Wharton had driven me to and thought "what a beautiful way of telling this story!"
As it is known, Ethan Frome is a tragic narration about two, or perhaps it should be said, three people. The descriptions of these characters, their adventures and misadventures, their feelings and strange relationships are so touching and yet realistic.
First one is wondering at the tragic web of events surrou
I liked Ethan Frome and Xingu.
Memorable Quotes
Ethan Frome
"Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart one's get away."

"He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence.“

“...he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access...”

“It looks just as if it was painted!” It seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, a
William Galaini
Yeah ... I gave this one another go recently and I still hated it. Despite being fairly well-written with some pleasant narrative variety, I couldn't change my mind about the meager quality of the themes, story, and nihilistic approach to human misery.

Here's why:

Ethan Frome is a weak man with poor decision making tendencies. He has zero trust in his feelings, his personal worth, and absolutely no sense of agency over his life. He is the protagonist of our story, having married a horrid shrew of
Mark Sandbothe
Ethan Frome: A short story set in a cold and brutal New England town. The geography and weather play a substantial part in this short story. Its all pervasive. I liked that it was told in a flashback mode as it internalized the inevitably of everything that was going to happen. Everything lead inexorably toward it. I did think the sled riding incident at the end was somewhat contrived. Really, out of the blue Mattie says to him; let’s kill ourselves, I can’t do anything without you; and Ethan ag ...more
I'm on an Edith Wharton kick...well, I've always been on an Edith Wharton kick. Anyway, this is a small volume of her short fiction. Ethan Frome, her best known novelette, is the lead story. It is excellent as it evokes winter's isolation and the poverty of the Lenox area, where Edith built her famous house, The Mount.

As an aside, we visited The Mount about seven or eight years ago and toured the exquisite gardens. (Edith was, among so many other things, a professional classic garden historian.
My appreciation for the writing of Edith Wharton continues to grow. This book displays quite a range. While House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence both portray things from the uppercrust vantage point, she has no problem inhabiting the character of a poor New England farmer. She inhabits both male and female characters. She is the mistress of portraying subtle flashes of a character.

Ethan Frome was heart-rending but still managed to contain a surprise I didn't expect...even if the surprise was
Sandy Voegtlen
I can't remember the last time I read something this depressing. Not one character gets away with any shred of happiness. The novella was well written. The characters are well drawn, but not one of them is particularly likeable. I really wanted the plot to take a turn and have someone murder Ethan's wife. Who would have missed the nasty hypochondriac anyway?
Karen Mcgrail
I thought I had read this before, but nope. On the one hand, awesome; on the other hand, maybe not the best choice for a night in the hospital. Disturbing and sad. Had some interesting dreams later. Think this will join The House of Mirth as books I think about when I'm sad or stressed. Glad I read it though, and loved the other books in this collection.
I'm not that big of a fan of the genre or era that Wharton writes in and I found Ethan Frome to be the least compelling story in this collection. Nevertheless, at some parts I was pleasantly surprised by how unexpectedly on-point she was with her observations and I can certainly see why her stories are considered classics.
Theresa Bolen
Yes, Edith Wharton is a classic writer we should all read...
Having said that, I get tired of the pretentious characters Wharton writes. I guess I'm glad I read it so I could say I did it, but I never want to read it again. Ever.
Melanie Benefield
Ethan Frome was better than I remember it, but I think Xingu was a better story that students would appreciate reading more than Ethan Frome. Afterward is also a much better story and the supernatural element was very cool.
Frank Spencer
I just read Ethan Frome and will save the other stories for later. Her writing here is just as good as in The Age of Innocence. It is a lot darker here, with a lot of writing describing darkness, hopelessness and danger. This is surely an early book to have a suicide pact, but there it is. People stuck in situations and relationships that hold no advantage for them is certainly a theme. It is interesting that the horses are described by their breed or color like, "a big-boned grey." The horses s ...more
Another Edith Wharton novel, another entry in my "This made me want to shoot myself (in a good way)" diary! Honestly, Ethan Frome itself is my least favorite thing I've read by her, but the short stories "The Pretext" and "Xingu" are so fantastic, and in such different ways. I was devastated and heartbroken by "The Pretext"; I giggled all the way through "Xingu", and completely cracked up at one point. I liked the other stories in this edition also, and as for Ethan Frome itself: to say it's my ...more
Jennifer Woods
I liked this book. I liked it so much better than The Chronicles of a Death Foretold. I could actually get into this book. The whole book I was thinking that Mattie and Ethan should be together instead of Zena and Ethan. However, I was also thinking how if he did marry Mattie it would be just like his marriage with Zena since both of them helped him care for someone in his family and he fell in love with each of them while this was occurring. The parallel between this book and Chronicle is the w ...more
Jim Short
The last story (Xingu) was the most fun to read. It's a short story that picks up very quickly and although it remains firmly in the traditional settings fo Edith Wharton's stories, the characters are lampooned as one on the outside would see them.
I actually have a Kindle Edition of "The Complete Works of Edith Wharton" So I am immersed. And impressed. And confused, since I now have read so many stories about repressed and beautiful and wealthy and frustrated and....Well it is interesting that both Ethan Frome and Summer break that mold, showing poverty and 'low' society, but still give such insight into the mores of that era. So different from ours, and yet the desires, fears, losses are all the same. Human nature. I can see why they ass ...more
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Darcy Shields
This has been a re read over the years. Never get tired of it.
Jun 21, 2010 Jeweleye marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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I'm probably being unfair in my rating of this book. Usually, I'm much more modest in devaluating the worth of what has been claimed as a classic. Who am I to swim against the current of expert opinion? But I read it years ago told that it was a modern tragedy. But tragedy, for me, has to prepare a protagonist to face an inevetible downfall. I just didn't believe in the inevetible in this story just like I didn't for the awful "Dead Poets Society" - I'm a poor rich kid who's daddy won't let me a ...more
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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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“There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.” 8 likes
“Xingu!" she scoffed. "Why, it was the fact of our knowing so much more about it than she did—unprepared though we were—that made Osric Dane so furious. I should have thought that was plain enough to everybody!” 5 likes
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