Monday, October 11, 2010

Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

I used to think that Romeo and Juliet was the best of all tragic love stories. You know, no one gets their true love and everyone dies. I may have to re-evaluate this.

Ethan Frome is a bleak and desolate book set in a bleak and desolate locale. It is a short novella and you don't really find out for sure "what happened" until the end. I don't want to be a spoiler but I have to say this. The best of all tragic love stories is one where the lovers are crippled for life and forced to rely on the care of the one person who keeps them apart, thereby keeping them from being happy. What more could you ask for in a tragedy?

Edith Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize but it wasn't for Ethan Frome. Ethan Frome was published in 1911 and it was 1920 when she published The Age of Innocence for which she won the Pulitzer. Summer, published in 1917 was apparently the companion to Ethan Frome. I am tempted to read Summer (especially if it is as short and easily read as Frome). I already have The Age of Innocence on my list of books to read (I read it years ago but I don't remember much about it).

For anyone who is a fan of tragedies or of Edith Wharton, I would recommend reading this book. If for no other reason, because it is only 130 pages long.

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