Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

genre: adult fiction

Ethan. Dear Ethan. I remembered from my middle school reading that your story was a tragic one. But I did NOT remember that it was a beautiful one, one that dug deep into our choices and the fact that we can't choose our consequences. Your home in western New England absolutely typified the starkness of your relationship with your wife and your hard life made sweet things so hard to come by. I know why Mattie appealed to you, of course. One little ray of light, that's all you needed and it was exactly what you could not have.

It's gorgeous. Writing at its finest. The CHARACTERS. Such contrasts with each other in the most detailed of ways. I found myself understanding Ethan so intimately, wanting so much for his circumstances to be different. I ached for the painful understanding of his plight and the desolation that hung like a curtain over his life. I was anxious for the climax, having a vague memory from my middle-school reading - but it actually took my breath away, since it was NOT what I remembered (funny how that happens). It was better, so carefully crafted. Tragic in a perfectly horrible way. Okay. I'm done gushing. It was wasted on me in 8th grade, but I've earned it now.

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bermudaonion said...

I remember my mother fighting with my sister to read this book, and I've been afraid of it ever since. Somehow, I was never assigned to read it.

Edgar Smithy said...

It's fun to think back and recollect the books we were required to read in school. I'm embarrassed, because I can't remember a single book I was required to read in middle/high school. I do, however, remember many of the novels I read in college, like, Jane Eyre and Control Switch On (http://controlswitchon.com/).

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