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Ethan Frome

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  62,285 ratings  ·  3,359 reviews
Ethan Frome is a poor New England farmer who lives a downtrodden existence with his wife in this story of pessimism and tragic waste from one of America's great authors.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1911)
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Jane Mclean Definitely clean. I read it in school as a 16-year-old [50 years ago], saw the Liam Neeson movie twice, read it again today. I believe "Ethan Frome"…moreDefinitely clean. I read it in school as a 16-year-old [50 years ago], saw the Liam Neeson movie twice, read it again today. I believe "Ethan Frome" is wasted on teen-agers; they don't have the life experiences to empathize with his plight, to "get" his stark and depressing life. Better suited for adults with a few life challenges in their resumes.(less)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey Keeten
“He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of it's frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of ...more

spoilers?? what spoilers??

i have changed my stance on the cover. a) initially, i thought that it was showing an altogether different type of activity, and then b) when ariel called it a spoiler, i reinterpreted it to something else and was still wrong, and then c) everything that may potentially be spoiled is pretty much spelled out in the first ten pages. so is that a spoiler, or is that foreshadowing??

tomato, potato...

what is so excellent about this book is that it is not at all a depressing
Aug 30, 2007 George rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: drivers who don't use turn signals, people who talk out loud in a movie theater during the film
"Hey Mrs. Kinetta, are you still inflicting all that horrible Ethan Frome damage on your students?" - John Cusack, Grosse Pointe Blank

If you're looking for a book with an ever-increasing level of misery, this one is hard to beat. Try this test the next time you're with a group of your friends: just mention "Ethan Frome" out loud, and see how many of them groan audibly.
Oct 30, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for people who've got a little winters chill in their hearts
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
I have been on a bit of a four-star roll recently and am beginning to fear that I accidentally pressed against my generous ratings button when I was slumped against the bookcase last week trying to figure out what to read next. It's cold and dreary outside and I was seeking something warm and fuzzy, maybe a bit light hearted or some sort of serial fantasy to see me through the onset of the winter months.... and then my hand brushed by the spine of Ethan Frome...

Which is clearly none of the thing
Finally, I have the right word for this predicament: When a capable author uses her prowess to create a work whose sole purpose seems to be to depress the reader, it can be described as Frome. This word can also be used as a verb, noun, adjective (Frome-ish, Frome-ier, etc), adverb (Frome-ly), etc. to similarly describe the effect it has on the reader, (ie, "I was Fromed.")

An example used in a sentence may be: "John Steinbeck was clearly suffering from a touch of the Frome when he penned The Pe
This book is a good one to read if you live with someone who has also read it. This way, any time there is a lull in the conversation you can talk about how depressing it is. Conversations between me and my roommate often go something like this:

"You know what I was just thinking about? Ethan Frome."
"GOD. That book is so depressing."
"I know, right."

The book is not only enjoyable, but also a great conversation piece. Do not read it if you cannot stand unhappy endings.
Sep 09, 2008 Johnny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Johnny by: William Chu
Shelves: literature
Ever read a book as required reading (in high school or college) and then, rediscover it as an adult? Ethan Frome had receded to the dark recesses of my mind such that I had even forgotten that I had read it. I remembered reading Age of Innocence, but good old Ethan had left my mental building. When my youngest son left his retired textbook edition at my house (an old Scribner’s edition in trade paperback priced at $1.25 original price—oh for those days again!), I grudgingly put it on one of my ...more
*Spoilers, proceed with caution*. This very sad tale Ethan Frome is an account of the life of Zenobia Frome, ‘Zeena’. She was named after the great Roman queen who led a revolt against the empire - somewhat like Princess Leia.

Zeena had sacrificed her life to the man she loved, Ethan Frome. However, he repaid her by having a secret love affair with Zeena’s pennyless and lazy cousin, Matty, to whom Zeena had given a home. She was pretty, and knew when to flutter her eyelashes.

But poor Zeena was
Jason Koivu
Jesus H Christ but this is bleak stuff! Even the town name Wharton chose, Starkfield....holy shit, hide the guns, rope and knives!

I was born and raised in New England, wandering about the wooded, hilly landscapes of Massachusetts, Vahmont, New Hampshah and Maine for much of my youth. The Springs and Summers were green and alive. The Autumns and Winters were dark and dead. So half the year was glorious, good times and the other half you spent desperately trying to survive. Ethan Frome is solidly
If you told me this was a longish deleted segment of Winesburg, Ohio, I would totally believe you, even taking into account the fact that one of the books was written by Sherwood Anderson and the other by Edith Wharton. Like the stories in that much revered short story cycle (no not novel), Ethan Frome concerns itself with grim characters burdened by unfulfilled dreams, dreams unfulfilled because of the strictures of society or their own inability to truly sieze the day. A chilly atmosphere, a g ...more
Just when you think that it's safe to kiss someone you're not married to, just then, disaster lurks barely a sledge ride away!

Ethan Frome is remarkable, in probability wrongly, in my mind for its relentless bleakness. This is an American novella, by an American author in which there is no escape. The West is there, but the protagonist can't afford the journey. This an impoverished landscape, the modest hero ploughs an infertile furrow. An ungallant way to refer to a marriage, but there you go, i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
August 2012

(view spoiler)

Good news, everyone!

Or rather, good news, everyone who had to read Ethan Frome in high school or college and developed a fanatical hatred of Edith Wharton and all her works
This story tore my heart out. Quite appropriately, I finished listening to the audiobook on a frosty winter day following a heavy overnight snowfall. Gazing out at the white landscape from my warm and comfortable place, I pondered this strange tale (which took place in another - a fictitious - winter setting) and grasped for some pearl of wisdom or kernel of truth with which to soothe my heart.

Ethan Frome could have been a contemporary of ours. He entered adulthood optimistically -- with a dream
You know that feeling you get when you see or read or hear something that is horribly sad, that feeling of loss or pity or depression, you know, the one that weighs around your neck like an anchor...well, ETHAM FROME is the type of story that evokes these types of emotions. For the most part, it is a simple story (I will spare you the details, the book is slim, read it), and then suddenly, like an errant thundercloud on a beautiful sunny day, it pelts you wind and rain and hail, and leaves you f ...more
John Wiswell
Aug 17, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary readers who love the depressing stuff
Bleak fiction for bleak fiction’s sake about a miserable man in an inescapable, loveless marriage and his desire for another woman. Hollow and myopic, easily one of the most disappointing experiences I’ve ever had with a supposed classic. Other gothics would earn their tragedy, but this is just cold. If it has any merit it is an argument against theodicy, for look what gods we make when we play as authors.

Don't bother reading Ethan Frome. Go sledding instead.
I absolutely hated this book.

OK, two things were good. The author draws New England landscapes, particularly in winter, beautifully. Secondly, the book was exceedingly short, so my misery wasn't prolonged. I need to joke after reading this sad, dismal, depressing book. Jeez, how can people look at life with such eyes?! Stop griping and do something with your life. It is your own fault if you just sob and moan.

You follow a couple that is ill-fit. The reader has to listen to their arguments. On
I read this last night in an insomniac fit. It was cold and dark and rainy, and I was alone. I can't think of a more fitting setting for reading this, unless you were in an old farmhouse with drafty windows, sitting by a stove in your rocking chair. Throw in a batty old lady, and you could be in Starkfield itself!

I love creepy stories - ones that slowly start to overwhelm you with that sense that something just ain't right. "Oh dear, this isn't going to go well." The build-up of foreshadowing, i
Edith Wharton is certainly one of my favorite author. I remember I was first captivated by her short story called “Roman Fever” and then amazed by “The age of Innocence”. What fascinates me about her is how well she narrates her story. The language may seem easy compared to other works in her time, but is certainly beautiful and flowing. Her works is always a fast-moving page-turner for me.

I just love how she describes the bleak-winter-rural area of New England in "Ethan Frome". The atmosphere
Nov 30, 2007 RachelAnne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people wanting to commit suicide but in need of more motivation to end it all.
Shelves: historical, novels
HATE! Wharton as usual writes well enough to make you sympathetic with characters forever imprisoned in bleakly miserable lives with no hope of redemption. One would inflict this on oneself willingly WHY?
This is my second experience with Edith Wharton and I must say that while I loved both experiences, the stories were as similar as chalk and cheese. While the first, Xingu, was a satire, which had you in splits imagining life at that time; this was exactly opposite, poignant and heart breaking. However, I have to give one thing to this author; she paints pictures with her words, which makes her stories ever so wonderful to read.

Ethan Frome was not a man that I wanted to like or even feel sorry f
May 01, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: 1001 Must Read Before You Die list
Shelves: 1001, 2010, classics
I love Edith Wharton, but honestly I don't understand why Ethan Frome is considered one of her best works.

Firstly, reading it, I felt like I'd already heard this story before. This novella about a man who is confined by his social status and unhappy marriage, and unable to realize his desires - be that a different profession or marriage to a different woman - is just all too familiar. Of course, Wharton's writing is as always remarkable, but the story itself is not impressive. Maybe my coldness
An unnamed narrator from a fictional New England town tells us about his encounter with Ethan Frome; a man with dreams and desires but stuck in a loveless marriage. His wife, Zeena is a hypochondriac whom he married out of a sense of duty. When Ethan falls deeply in love with Zeena’s cousin and their maid Mattie things start truly falling apart.

I’m going to put this out there, this book really reminds me of a Russian novel; the love triangle reminds me of Doctor Zhivago mainly. Then there is the
I disliked this book so much. But yet I don't know if it is the books fault or the teachers? How I made it through 7th and 8th grade with the same teacher and came through it still with an interest in reading is a mystery to me.
When I read this in high school, I really liked it. Well, as much as you can like a book when a disillusioned teacher puts a figurative gun to your head and forces you to read it (I love reading, yet I hated English classes; it's a wonder how much joy can be sapped from your passions by a few lousy teachers). Back then, my Holden Caulfield-identifying self liked the Romeo-&-Juliet-on-a-sled aspect of this diminutive masterpiece.

I read it again last week. I still liked it, but things had cha
If you're looking for a punch in the gut that matches the solar plexus thumping you got from "Of Mice and Men," this is where you want to be.

Reading the other reviews that are listed here, I'm glad I never got assigned this in school. That apparently ruins the book.

Ethan's easy to judge. He's not perfect, and he blames fate for his situation when he should be blaming himself. Sure, he grew up on the Baltic-Avenue part of the board, and he has to farm, and his wife's a witch and stuff. But nobod
Weather tends to have a great effect on how we feel about a book. If it's sunny, we are optimistic; if it's cloudy, we are pessimistic; if it's rainy, it can go both ways, but damn if it's snowy and impassable - you better chill out for awhile, this is going to be a dreary, depressing ride.

The book is called 'Ethan Frome', but don't let that fool you. He, his wife and wife's cousin are integral to the whole "Shit, I thought my life had its suck-ery, but not as bad as this tres glum hint of being
Jennifer (aka EM)
A brutal little novella, mean, sad and despairing, evocatively told - but too short (i.e., character- and detail-scarce) to pack the kind of wallop that House of Mirth did. Wharton's capacity to create a downward arc for her characters (view spoiler) is singular, and the furious engine that burns at the heart of her books.
Ethan Frome is the story of Ethan Frome, a young man settled in an unhappy marraige who falls in love with his wife's young cousin Mattie Smith.

This story was terrible. My AP English class ate it up, but in my opinion, all the charectors are self-centered and think only of themselves. They are incapable of realizing what they are doing to eachother because all they can think of is themselves. Each charector is also extremely weak and lacks self control. Bottom line, This book is not a must read.
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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
More about Edith Wharton...
The Age of Innocence The House of Mirth Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction The Custom of the Country Summer

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“I want to put my hand out and touch you. I want to do for you and care for you. I want to be there when you're sick and when you're lonesome.” 38 likes
“He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of it's frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.” 21 likes
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