Perhaps the best-known and most popular of Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome is widely considered her masterpiece. The eponymous Ethan Frome lives in a typical New England village where he makes a living out of his stony farm and exists at odds with his wife Zeena, a whining hypochondriac. When Mattie, Zeena’s cousin, comes to live with them, love develops between her and Ethan. They try to end their hapless romance by steering a bobsled into a tree; but both end up disabled, tied to a long life of despair with Zeena. Zeena, however, is transformed into a devoted nurse while Mattie becomes the nagging invalid.
A powerful tale of passion and loss—and the wretched consequences thereof— Ethan Frome is one of American literature's great tragic love stories.
The New York Times called Ethan Frome, "A compelling and haunting story."
Ethan Frome departs from other novels like The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence in its exclusion of the upper classes. Wharton is believed to have based the novel on a real-life sledding accident that she heard about in Lenox, Massachusetts. Ethan Frome was adapted for film in 1993, starring Liam Neeson as Ethan Frome.
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