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Editorial Reviews

Published in 1911, Wharton's novel is set in the desolate New England town of Starkfield. Ethan Frome, a painfully loyal farmer and his demanding wife, Zeena, are trapped in a cheerless marriage. When her cousin Mattie comes to work for them, Ethan and Mattie struggle against forbidden feelings, but inevitably, they fall in love. Scott Brick's able narration conveys the pervasive dreariness of lives only briefly relieved by the advent of possibility. However, as with many of Wharton's novels, irony dominates. Brick's performance offers a familiarity with Downeast colloquialisms and thoroughly believable New England accents. He brings Wharton's characters to oppressive life in this unrelentingly grim story. This production opens with a brief summary of the author's life, offering insights.
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Publisher's Summary

Ethan Frome, a poor, downtrodden New England farmer, is trapped in a loveless marriage to his invalid wife, Zeena. His ambition and intelligence are oppressed by Zeena's cold, conniving character. When Zeena's young cousin Mattie arrives to help care for her, Ethan is immediately taken by Mattie's warm, vivacious personality. They fall desperately in love as he realizes how much is missing from his life and marriage. Tragically, their love is doomed by Zeena's ever-lurking presence and by the social conventions of the day. Ethan remains torn between his sense of obligation and his urge to satisfy his heart's desire, up to the suspenseful and unanticipated conclusion.Perhaps reflective of Wharton's own loveless marriage, this sophisticated, star-crossed love story vividly depicts her abhorrence of society's relentless standards of loyalty. Ethan Frome is one of Wharton's most popular and best-known works.
© (P)2002 Tantor Media, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Anne on 11-11-03

A time capsule not to be missed

I tried this book because of the narrator, and loved the story! It is a fascinating glimpse into another time and mindset, and has some unexpected turns and ironies. The characters develop through the story in such a way that the listener is thoroughly engaged. Scott Brick gives a brilliant portrayal of the regional accent and cadence of speech. A recommended listen!

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful


By Darwin8u on 05-29-13

Slow is smooth and smooth is Fast until it isn't

This is one of those novels/novellas that is so cold, barren and bleak that the full beauty of it isn't completely evident until you put the book down, drink a warm beverage, and warm your brain, body and soul back up. Wharton's prose is amazing and her plot is perfection.

'Ethan Frome' is another novella that proves that bigger isn't always better. This book joins a short but very amazing list of short novels that seem to almost acheive literary perfection in under 150 pages: 'Heart of Darkness', 'Of Mice and Men', 'Animal Farm', 'Old Man and the Sea' and 'the Metamorphosis'. Anyway, I've read/listened to books well over 600+ pages that have 1/2 as much to say.

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19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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