‘He looked at her hair and longed to touch it again, and to tell her that it smelt of the woods; but he had never learned to say such things...’
One harsh winter in 1900s New England, Ethan Frome toils at his farm while struggling to maintain a bearable existence with his forbidding wife, Zeena. When Ethan takes Zeena’s cousin, Mattie, home from a dance he is entranced: Mattie brings with her the possibility for happiness, and with that she quickly becomes a symbol of hope for Ethan.
First published in 1911, Ethan Frome is an intimate look at choices not made and lives not yet lived. Told through the eyes of a city outsider, this heartbreaking portrait of three lives haunted by thwarted dreams remains for many the most subtle and moving of Wharton’s works.
Physically disfigured and trapped in a loveless marriage to a sickly older woman, Ethan Frome is a broken man. He lives a desolate, impoverished life in the town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, bound by an unassailable sense of duty. But long ago, Ethan dreamed of something beyond his bleak and tedious New England existence. Once, he had dared to have hope for the future.
Ethan Frome tells the wrenching story of a love destined not to be and a man mired in his own private hell.
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But An American Tragedy is more than simply a powerful murder story. Dreiser pours his own dark yearnings into his character, Clyde Griffiths, as he details the young man’s course through his ambitions of wealth, power, and satisfaction.
The Indiana-born Dreiser (1871-1945) has never cut a dashing or romantic swath through American literature. He has no Pulitzer or Nobel Prize to signify his importance. Yet he remains for myriad reasons: his novels are often larger than life, rugged, and defy the norms of conventional morality and organized religion. They are unapologetic in their sexual candor--in fact, outrightly frank--and challenge even modern readers. The brooding force of Dreiser’s writing casts a dark shadow across American letters.
Here in An American Tragedy, Dreiser shows us the flip side of The American Dream in a gathering storm that echoes with all of the power and force of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Inspired by the writings of Balzac and the ideas of Spenser and Freud, Dreiser went on to become one of America’s best naturalist writers. An American Tragedy is testimony to the strength of Dreiser’s work: it retains all of its original intensity and force.
The masterpiece of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton, ETHAN FROME tells a story of domestic drama, tragedy and heartbreak. Caught between duty to his ailing wife, Zeena, and passion for her cousin, Mattie, Ethan must come to terms with his own desires. The psychology and nuances of these finely drawn characters make this Victorian novel an enduring classic.
Thought Edith Wharton is best known for her cutting contemplation of fashionable New York, Ethan Frome and Summer are set in small New England towns, far from Manhattan’s beau monde. Together in one volume, these thematically linked short novels display Wharton’s characteristic criticism of society’s hypocrisy, and her daring exploration of the destructive consequences of sexual appetite. From the wintry setting of Ethan Frome, where a man hounded by community standards is destroyed by the very thing that might bring him happiness, to the florid town of Summer, where a young woman’s first romance projects her into a dizzying rite of passage, Wharton captures beautifully the urges and failures of human nature.
Praise for Edith Wharton and Ethan Frome
“Ethan Frome [is considered] Mrs. Wharton’s masterpiece . . . The secret of its greatness is the stark human drama of it; the social crudity and human delicacy intermingled; the defiant, over-riding passion, and the long-drawn-out logic of the paid penalty. It has no contexts, no mitigations; it is plain, raw, first-hand human stuff.”—The New York Times
“Ethan Frome [has] become part of the American mythology. . . . Wharton’s astonishing authority here is to render such pain with purity and economy . . . Truly it is a northern romance, akin even to Wuthering Heights.”—Harold Bloom
“Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature.”—Gore Vidal
These three brilliantly wrought, tragic novellas explore the repressed emotions and destructive passions of working-class people far removed from the social milieu usually inhabited by Edith Wharton's characters.
Ethan Frome is one of Wharton's most famous works; it is a tightly constructed and almost unbearably heartbreaking story of forbidden love in a snowbound New England village. Summer, also set in rural New England, is often considered a companion to Ethan Frome-Wharton herself called it “the hot Ethan”-in its portrayal of a young woman's sexual and social awakening. Bunner Sisters takes place in the narrow, dusty streets of late nineteenth-century New York City, where the constrained but peaceful lives of two spinster shopkeepers are shattered when they meet a man who becomes the unworthy focus of all their pent-up hopes.
All three of these novellas feature realistic and haunting characters as vivid as any Wharton ever conjured, and together they provide a superb introduction to the shorter fiction of one of our greatest writers.
The worldwide bestseller—now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.