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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, in Ethan Frome marriage is duty,burdensome than most A best pickle dish is too precious to use and when broken is carried out with as much solemnity as a dead body, perhapsThe consequences of sin are life long, while grace, let alone redemption, are entirely absent Then again perhaps it is natural if in a country there is an overwhelming belief in optimism, expansion, and the possibility of forever starting again that a contrasting voice emerges that says yes, that may well be the American dream, but this is the American reality.Very oddly Ethan Frome reminds me of The Great Gatsby and those boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past There some surface glitter covered over an essential immobility that here is plain and unvarnished This stands in contrast to relentless reinvention, a rootlessness that allows renewal, the kind of thing we see in Sister Carrie the woman from the back of beyond becoming a star of the New York stage This seems to be a dying society on the edges of buoyant country The narrator s opening remarks talk of the natives, like Frome, and the later emigrants Although the narrator seem to approve of the old blood, the implication of the story is that they are an evolutionary dead end Too tied down to achieve anything new The need to take a trip by horse drawn vehicle to the train station suggests this is a stagnating backwater, cut off from the energetic currants of the nineteenth century let alone those of the twentieth If the present does reach into the town it is only through the patent medicines that validates Zenobia Frome s status as being perpetually sick This work that Lisa Simpson was so pleased to gain a copy of to call her own is like a little piece of Thomas Hardy, transplanted to New England A corner of a foreign field that is for ever Wessex. Magnificent, spectacular I somehow always feel I must assign many types of superlatives to the magnificent spectacular Edith Wharton Definitely top ten writers of ALL TIME contender Her best is Age of Innocence, and her not as much personally, alas is House of Mirth , but sandwiched between them is this tense novella about the restrictions of unconventional feeling And it has the type of invigorating force that compels the reader to do his one job and do it good I adore this slim tome, admire Wharton for being absolutely angelic in her rare immense perfection. This is a romantic tragedy that culminates in a sledding accident I will just say a few brief words about that First, there is probably a reason that sledding accidents don t figureprominently in tragedies Shakespeare wrote like 13 tragedies and to the best of my knowledge none featured a sledding accident I have not read Titus Andronicus, so I can t be sure If Shakespeare doesn t need to include a sled wreck, then neither do you.I will also say that I found Ethan and Mattie s attempted double suicide by sledding a little hard to take seriously I mean, there are probably dozens of reasons that serious people don t rank sled tree collisions on their Top 5 List of preferred suicide methods, but certainly the fact that adult doubles sledding is inherently ridiculous is one Another that springs to mind is the unreliability of trying to kill yourself by sledding into a tree Ethan ends up breaking his legs and paralyzing Mattie, which is pretty much the best you can realistically hope to do if you sled into a tree.Really, I find it remarkable that Edith Wharton s reputation survived Ethan Frome and his sled antics It makes me want to read House of Mirth, because it must be REALLY REALLY good.As a side note, this is exactly the kind of ridiculous melodramatic bullshit I always had to read in high school Teachers getting all worked up about the symbolism of the New England winter and failing to understand why 16 year olds don t respond to the tragedy of star crossed lovers doubling each other into a tree on a sled Please. 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, potatowhat is so excellent about this book is that it is not at all a depressing book while you are reading it it is an intensely hopeful book but then gutpunch the depressing bits happen offscreen, after all the meat of the story has been digested this metaphor is escaping me but in the lacuna between when the story ends and the nosy new kid narrator in town comes on the scene such a fantastic new england type character hi, i just moved in, tell me all your neighbor s secrets the tragic bits are in imagining what these characters went through between point a and point b so shivery horrible and that kind of story is right up my alley great description, great pacing simple story, but haunting and devastating longing and aftermath i love aftermath.i liked this muchthan summer, and i may readwharton based on the strength of this one hmmm who could i find to advise me come to my blog Sparse prose is sexy Sexy And that s why I ve given it a special shelf on my page, called a buck and change.Guess what else sparse prose is Rare.That s why I have only seven books on there.Why Why are these precious books that fall under 200 pages so rare Because writers tend to overwrite everything.But not Edith Wharton, the queen of sparse prose And Ms Wharton, though she may appear stolid in her old black and white portraits, was one sexy lady.She manages in Ethan Frome to take one anti hero, one untamed shrew, and one manipulative maiden, and proves, in less than 100 pages, that winter, isolation and poverty do not discriminate.Wharton is never a sell out She gives you foreshadowing, symbolism and metaphors in just the right dosages, and she never wastes your time And when one red dish shatters into sharp pieces all over that never ending landscape of white you can not help but be bewildered at what an exceptional writer can do, especially in succinct and clever prose. 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. L INVERNO DEL CUORELiam Neeson Ethan Frome nel film del 1993 diretto da John Madden Non era tanto la sua statura, perch quasi tutti gli indigeni spiccavano a prima vista tra le razze forestiere pi tozze proprio per la loro altezza dinoccolata era piuttosto quel suo aspetto naturalmente vigoroso, nonostante fosse talmente zoppo che, a ogni passo, sembrava che una catena legata ai piedi lo trattenesse di colpo Aveva nel volto qualcosa di desolato e di chiuso e appariva cos rigido e bianco che lo avevo preso per un vecchio, al punto che, quando mi dissero che non aveva pi di cinquantadue anni, rimasi stupito.Ecco la perfetta descrizione di quello che stato il suo interprete pi convincente, seppure in un film non molto convincente, nonostante il cast Mi riferisco a Liam Neeson, che mi pare un match ideale.Joan Allen la moglie Zeena.La Wharton si allontana decisamente dall ambiente che gli pi familiare, quello dell establishment parvenu o meno , al quale lei stessa apparteneva E si allontana dal milieu urbano che di pi non si potrebbe New England, Massachusetts, un paesino immaginario, Starkfield, montagna neve ghiaccio freddo, gente che vive e parla in accordo col luogo, e cio poche parole, gesti e sentimenti essenziali, duri, perfino aspri.C un narratore senza nome che si deve trattenere a Starkfield per affari un giorno nota la figura alta e zoppicante di Ethan Frome e chiede in giro chi sia Ascolta le risposte, ma non ottiene molti racconti dalla gente del villaggio, che, come gi detto, sono parchi di parole, gesti, e sentimenti.Il narratore assume Ethan come guidatore del suo calesse, e cos ha modo di saperne di pi.Fine del prologo Da qui, siamo di colpo proiettati un quarto di secolo indietro, il racconto da prima persona cambia in terza, e noi lettori diventiamo spettatori della storia di Frome.Patricia Arquette Mattie Qui, Ethan e Mattie sono gi innamorati, vorrebbero fuggire insieme, se solo avessero il denaro sufficiente Lo slittino che Ethan trasporta elemento essenziale di questo punto del racconto.Ethan era via da Starkfield per studiare all universit come dice un paesano al narratore, I migliori se ne vanno Ma Frome deve ritornare di corsa a casa perch il padre rimane ferito in un incidente di lavoro.Da quel momento, non si allontana pi da Starkfield Da quel momento vive un quotidiano immutabile, in qualche modo lugubre sposa Zeena diminutivo di Zenobia che si presa cura dei genitori vecchi e malati di Ethan Zeena ha anni 35 anni, lui invece 28 lui giovane e vigoroso, lei sembra gi una vecchia Un matrimonio di compensazione, senza a, nella reciproca rassegnazione, destinati insieme a una vita che ti lega senza corde e ti uccide senza veleni.Zeena un ipocondriaca che lamenta stanchezza e salute cagionevole Perci chiama una sua lontana parente, Mattie, ad aiutarla in casa e accudirla.Mattie giovane e non ancora piallata da Starkfield.Tra lei e Ethan man mano si accende una fiammella che va crescendo Fino a che Zeena non per niente contenta della felicit della nuova coppia, guai in vista.C un forte senso di fato in questo breve romanzo, che una piccola gemma.Il fato sempre primitivo, ancestrale, tanto pi in un ambiente rurale ed essenziale come Starkfield.Parola, il fato, che si tira dietro, invariabilmente, un senso di tragedia greca Il fato non pu essere benigno, non pu compensare, redimere, soddisfare Il fato punisce Punisce anche gli innocenti Ma tanto, nessuno innocente.In questo caso un fato provvisto di beffarda, direi anche perversa, ironia, che ribalta i ruoli tra i tre personaggi.Ethan e Mattie due cuori innamorati nel luogo e nella stagione sbagliata. Because Edith Wharton was born in 1862 and this novel was written in 1911, I ve always resisted reading the story fearing that it might contain florid prose and descriptions, which are often mind numbing for me Not only did I love it, I was reminded of one of my all time favorite novels, Stoner Ethan Frome was a mostly money strapped farmer in a miserable marriage while Stoner was raised by hard working farm people Both men were married to wives that were cold hearted, passive aggressive and cruel Zenobia Zeena Frome is a hypochondriac but also cunning and, she uses her obscure ailments to derail Ethan s love affair with her young and beautiful cousin, Mattie Silver Stoner s wife Edith, also demanding and manipulative, converted Stoner s den into her art studio in order to deliberately thwart the shared time with his beloved daughter, Grace while he worked and she did her homework.Ethan Frome and William Stoner were both wonderful characters in literature I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found the story compelling But, I adored Stoner My rating only reflects that this one suffers by comparisonnot that it wasn t well written and absorbing. Because March is women s history month, I made it a point to only read women authors over the course of the month As the month winds to a close, I have visited many places and cultures, learning about historical events from a female perspective Yet, to observe women s history month, it would not be complete with paying homage to classic authors In this regard, I decided to read Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton s tragic novella Ethan Frome of Starkfield, Massachusetts has known much tragedy in his life First his father grew ill, leaving young Frome to move back to care for the family farm Then his mother grew sick, and a young relation named Zenobia Silver came to live with the Fromes to care for her Without much of a future besides the farm in his possession, Frome falls for Zenobia, and they marry Yet, Zenobia is not a country girl, and Frome hopes to sell the farm so that he can move his wife into town Tragedy strikes again as now Zenobia grows ill Frome is unable to sell the farm and is isolated in the country Zenobia a relations suggest that a young cousin Mattie Silver come and care for her in the manner that Zenobia had cared for Frome s mother While Zenobia is ailing and supposedly on her deathbed, Frome starts showing feelings toward Mattie What ensues for the rest of the novella is his conflicted feelings toward both women, as he considers his future Wharton paints a picture of a grim reality for Frome That the story occurs in winter in a town named Starkfield is no coincidence Her witticism as she debates whether Frome should honor his wife s feelings or leave her and elope with Mattie are uncanny Even though Starkfield appears as a depressing town to life in, Wharton s use of language and plot development had me reading to discover the denouement of Frome s sad tale The fact that she included her usual twist toward the end enhanced the story I have only discovered Edith Wharton over this March s women s history month reads, but I find it remarkable that her writing can go from comedy in one story to tragedy in another and still contain a high level of wit She wrote at a time when the novel was dominated by the middle class, and was one of few upper crust society women to write That she entered a male profession and eventually won a Pulitzer for her writing, makes her career all theimpressive Although Ethan Frome is a tragedy, I found the story interesting enough to hold my attention, especially as Wharton inserted her mark at the end A four star read, I look to readof Wharton s work in the future. ^FREE BOOK ⇰ Ethan Frome ⇶ On A Poor Farm Near Starkfield In Western Massachusetts, Ethan Frome Struggles To Wrest A Living From The Land, Unassisted By His Whining And Hypochondriacal Wife Zeena When Zeena S Young Cousin Mattie Silver Is Left Destitute, The Only Place She Can Go Is To Ethan S Farm