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Download Ethan Frome Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (43,409 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edith Wharton Narrator: C. M. Hébert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Like its name suggests, the small New England village of Starkfield emits a sense of foreboding as the novel, "Ethan Frome," unfolds. The audiobook's isolated, gray and dreary setting aptly mirrors the lives of its three main characters.

The narrator starts out describing a somewhat mysterious man named Ethan Frome, about whom many townspeople have questions, but whose answers are known by few.

The narrator, quite by accident, ends up spending the night in the Frome household after a blizzard forces him to find shelter for the night.

The book flashes back to twenty years ago, when the young Ethan is married to Zeena, a shrewish hypochondriac who brings little joy into the house where they live. Zeena's cousin, Mattie, has come to stay with them. Over the course of time, Mattie's sunny disposition brings more joy and light into the house, as well as into Ethan's life. Circumstances throw Mattie and Ethan together that drive a further wedge between Ethan and his wife, although the relationship between Mattie and Ethan remains as innocent as it could be, given the natural attraction that develops between them.

Both fight against the powerful feelings they have for each other, but Nature and circumstances often find their way, and things happen. In Mattie's and Ethan's case, the impossibility of the situation catches up with them in ways the listener could not imagine.

Thus, the story unravels for both the narrator in the novel and the listener to the "Ethan Frome" audiobook."

It is easy to see why high school teachers and college professors continue to assign this jewel of a novel that has become a classic of American literature, as well as a mirror into human nature, love and marital devotion.

Edith Wharton remains one of the major women writers in American literary history. She was born in 1862 and died in 1937. She wrote more than 40 works, including novels, short stories, poems and non-fiction prose.

She was born into the upper class in New England and lived a life not unlike those found in novels such as "The Great Gatsby." Her insights into not only the ways of the wealthy but into people from all walks of life gave her rich subject matter for her novels.

Her novel, "The Age of Innocence," won a Pulitzer Prize in 1920. She became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale University.

Often regarded as Edith Wharton’s finest achievement, Ethan Frome contrasts sharply with her usual ironic contemplation of fashionable New York society. Set in the bleak winter landscape of New England farmlands, this keenly-etched portrait of the simple inhabitants of a nineteenth-century village is a masterpiece of literary realism.

Ethan is a patient, rough-hewn man tormented by a passionate love for his sickly wife’s young cousin, Mattie, who has come to offer her domestic services. Restricted by the bonds of marriage—however loveless it may be—and the fear of public condemnation, Ethan’s desperate quest for happiness leads ultimately to pain and despair.

Ethan’s story, with its tragic implications of what might have been, has held irresistible fascination for readers for over a century. The tale of a decent man’s fall brought on by his finest feelings is a haunting study of the human conflict between desire and duty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling and haunting story.”

    New York Times

  • “Wharton’s characters leap out from the pages and…become very real. You know their hearts, souls and yearnings, and the price they pay for those yearnings.”

    San Francisco Examiner

  •  “As moral as the classic fairy tale.”

    Elizabeth Ammons is professor of English and American studies at Tufts University

  • “An innovative insight into incompatability, and as such something of a breakthrough. Edith Wharton was in many ways ahead of her time.…In Ethan Frome she made her mark as an atypical and uncompromising psychologist. It is in many ways her most fearless novel.”

    Telegraph (London)

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Laneigh Pfalser | 2/18/2014

    " This was the absolute worst book I have ever read in my entire life. Had to read it in 9th grade for English and it was HORRIBLE. The whole book is absurd and was supposed to be about existentialism, this author has NO IDEA what that means.It was ridiculous that someone EVER thought this should be printed and even more insane that it was put on the classics list. I could literally rant about this for weeks. I hated it that much. Still do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Heather Mize | 2/17/2014

    " Edith Wharton has such an efficient use of words in her writing. Ethan Frome is such a heart breaking story with an unexpected twist. Wharton's writing is beautiful. This is a short book, but a very engrossing story. In the end your heart breaks for Ethan Frome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Grete | 2/14/2014

    " Sometimes sparklingly longing but most often bitterly gray. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Charly | 2/9/2014

    " Eh, Edith needs to stick to her specialities. More ballgowns! More mustachioed opera-box-owning adulterers! More trips to Paris! Dull, bleak, short, ridiculous. "

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