Edith Wharton, the brilliant award-winning American author, published Ethan Frome in 1911, more than 100 years ago, but it's still relevant to this very day. Welcome to Massachusetts, ladies and gentlemen, a fictitious town. A nameless narrator is wasting the harsh winter days in this townlet and trying to take care of business.
Soon, he notices a hobbling man who's walking 'round the village and the brave, courageous fella makes the businessman curious. So, he asks around about the man: as it turns out, his name is Ethan, and he was injured 2, 5 decades ago in what the locals are calling a smash-up. However, nobody truly knows what happened back then and who was to blame. The narrator goes on and offers Mr. Frome a job: he wants him to be his driver for the week.
The man agrees, and, one day, after a massive snowstorm confronts them on the road, Frome invites the employer to spend the night in his dwelling. And, as the two enter the house, the plot "jumps back" 24 years and details what happened all those years ago with Ethan. At the same time, the narration switches from 1st-person to 3rd-person, which is quite a rare thing in literature.
The tension keeps rising as we learn about everything that took place that fateful day. How did Frome get the trauma and what did his wife's cousin have to do with it? Ethan Frome is a stand-out cut in Wharton's mighty line-up of bestsellers, as it talks about the middle-class American folks, not the elites. Some critics accused it of being too corny and routine, while others praised it for being compelling, insightful and thought-provoking. At the end of the day, Ethan Frome is a very important novel for the 20th century - nothing more, nothing less.