Saw the movie with Liam Neeson and then was eager to read the book. Movie and book are very much the same story, which is always refreshing. Edith Wharton really is a superb writer of the tragedy of ordinary life and love. The reality of life and her writing go hand in hand even if one is fiction. A good, if not glamorous or happy read.
This book is very sad but it’s beautifully told and serves as a good cautionary tale. Set in wintery rural New England it’s a short novel about Ethan Frome: the bad circumstances he’s in, the choices he makes, and the consequences of these choices. It employs the creative use of a frame story, told from someone outside who’s learning about the story himself. The narrator sees and meets an intriguing character (Ethan), a limping quiet forlorn man, and wants to know more about him. Flashback 24 years and we’re told the story of who he is, what happened, and how he got that way: Ethan’s put in a bad spot, between his spiteful sickly wife (Zeena) and his wife’s young cousin (Mattie) who lives with them. The story revolves around the romantic feelings that develop between Ethan and Mattie, and what ends up happening, resulting in a horrific type of irony at the end. It’s a reflection on the capacity of bad circumstances to stunt and mutilate human potential, and on the difficult balance (and/or imbalance) of taking care of others versus taking care of yourself. This is a story where the setting serves as a type of character too, playing a big part in the novel.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton was honestly a love tragedy like Romeo and Juliet without dead. The story is about a man named Ethan and his wife Zeena living in a farm being low classed, with his wife having a kidney condition causing her to be sick. Zeena cousin (Mattie) is brought to the home since has nowhere else to go, and they falls madly in love with each other but Zeena is there and she makes sure their love for each other doesn’t turn well. The novel had an honestly tragic ending, it seems that Ethan had a lot of regrets to begin with but the ending just surprised me and made me sad. This books goes to show not all love stories in the novel have happy ending or make the reader happy. The book gave me a lot of imagination because it very detailed from the climate to the features on the characters faces. It wasn’t really an easy read because of the difficult words put in it and I would have to go and search up what it means and how it matches with the sentence and the story. The ending really shocked me, it was very unexpected and surprising and sad, and even though they built up the story to that point I wasn’t expecting any of what was coming to me at all. I recommend this story for those who love romances and tragic stories with surprising finishes. I definitely enjoyed reading this book and would recommend to others.
10/8 - Enjoying this short book so far. The story is engaging, the writing easy to understand, Wharton even has a page of notes at the back of the book explaining some of the more difficult words or phrases in the story. Wharton jumps back and forth between 'current time' and about 20 years earlier, she does this without advising the reader of the time change, which has caused me some confusion. There is a perfect description of the landscape of the farm and beyond seen after a dreadful winter storm. The description is so clear I could see exactly what the narrator was seeing - spectacular sunrise, dazzlingly glittery snow and amazingly clear atmosphere after such foul weather the night before. If only you didn't have to have the violence of the storm to have the beautiful morning after. To be continued...
11/8 - I don't usually get themes or hidden messages that authors try to convey through their stories, I just enjoy the book for what it is telling me on the surface. But Ethan Frome's 'message' (if that's what it is) seems to be quite obvious. Wharton seems to be saying that no matter what you do to try to improve your situation in life, fate won't let you. If your fate is to live a miserable life, and you try to make it better (in whatever small or big way), fate will turn those actions around and bring you back to your miserable life, perhaps even make it worse to punish you. The descriptions of the scenery are beautiful but the story itself is quite depressing, but despite the latter I actually enjoyed the story.
This book has shocking turn of events during the climax. And the ending is a real jaw dropping. You would like this if you like to read books that dates back to the 1800s.
Good....but crazy ending.
A deeply touching book about the lonely, harsh life of a man named Ethan Frome, a poor farmer torn between his sickly wife and young Mattie Silver. A honest and loyal man, he is seen as a weary caretaker of his wife, who he tries to escape his dreary reality but fails to do so.
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