Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Source: Librivox
Length: 3 hr, 12 min
Reader: Elizabeth Klett

The book: The titular character in Ethan Frome is a man living in rural Starkfield, Massachusetts, trapped in a marriage with a woman who is both sickly and demanding. When his wife's beautiful cousin Mattie comes to stay with the couple as a domestic helper, Frome begins to dream of a better life away from Starkfield with Mattie. But Frome is a good man who won't allow himself to wrong his wife. The story is a classic example of the struggle between desire and commitment.

Ethan Frome is one of those stories which ten years ago I would have have not enjoyed. I would have seen Frome as a selfish, weak man, not recognizing his quiet heroism. Since then, my own experiences with difficult moral decisions in a past relationship have changed my perception. I can now sympathize with Frome's wanting to leave but knowing it is right to stay. I think it's amazing how a book can mean nothing at one time, but be so meaningful if read at a different time in life. I'm humbled to realize that these reviews I write are valid for myself alone, only at the time that I write them.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Elizabeth Klett is a wonderful reader. I've already mentioned how much I liked her reading of Howard's End by E.M. Forster. This reading is just as good, with an even better sound quality. Ms. Klett has lovely voice with clear, crisp enunciation. Her reading makes use of variations of tone and volume to create an enjoyable audiobook. I would reccomend her readings to anyone looking for the best readers of LibriVox.

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