Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome was published in 1911, the year that she finally separated from her husband. Wharton understood all too clearly that the price of liberty can sometimes be a very high one, and that passion and death are near relations. One critic called the book “one of the most autobiographical novels ever written” because it reflected her sense of entrapment and loneliness.
The ending of this novella is one of the grimmest I’ve ever encountered. But it is a memorable book, and the fate of the characters and the decisions they make are things you ponder long after turning the last page. It’s probably not a book you can ‘enjoy’, but it is very powerful.