Book Reviews

Six Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton


Finally! A book I’ve actually read. But I have no memory of it being an Edith Wharton! Go figure! Well, I did read it at one go [a lot of skimming, but still….] in a urologist’s waiting room many years ago. That’s probably why the memory lapse. I recall being really depressed after reading it. I clearly recall that.

Here’s the blurb:

The classic novel of despair, forbidden emotions, and sexual undercurrents set against the austere New England countryside. Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a hired girl, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. ….Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. 

I promised myself I would not use this chain to dredge up other depressing books. So, here goes….

My Chain


I admit, this one starts off with a depressing note. We learn that Macon’s son, Ethan (the link to Ethan Frome) has died. But, the rest of the book is about working through grief and beginning life anew. It is possibly my favorite Anne Tyler. The Accidental Tourist


While travel guide author Macon in an Accidental Tourist aims to make travel as much like being at home as possible, home is the last place Arthur Less wants to be right now. He travels, albeit without a guide as helpful as Macon’s to escape. Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Travel is one link; both authors having won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is another.



Someone who could relate to how Arthur Less feels is Leslie Anne Green Carter–the last first/original wife in her social set. The rest have been replaced by newer, younger women in their husband’s beds and lives–just like poor Arthur. Leslie finally finds the life she wants. The Last Original Wife


An original wife who put up with more husbandly shenanigans before finding a life she wanted was Eleanor Roosevelt. Loving Eleanor by 


Enduring husbandly shenanigans was the watchword of women in Anne Glenconner’s titled world. Her husband moved on from the first day and the final insult was giving all of his worldly goods–the very same pledged to Anne on their wedding day, to a man who had worked for him on his private island. Anne had her very bed sold right out from under her! But, she’s hardly living on the British equivalent of a Social Security check. Still, I think there’s a special place in hell for her late husband. Lady In Waiting. 


Finally, an older lady who has written a book and who could teach Lady Glenconner a thing or two about economizing to live on an actual OAP [Social Security check to us in the USA] is Marie Sharp. She’s not a dreary old bag, she’s lived her to the full, but facing 60 [like me] she’s making some changes, one of which will not be a book club membership! Her diary is well worth the read.

Not my best chain (nor my worst), but that’s all the band width I have right now for anything. Hope you enjoyed it. I may be a few days getting around to reading everyone else’s due to seasonal employment.

Join in the Six Degrees Fun next month!

How the meme works

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. You can read all about it here at Books Are My Favorite and Best.

A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

In January we start with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

14 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

  1. I’ve read Ethen Frome too, though the details are rather hazy in my mind. An interesting chain with some titles I would want to pick up including Less and Loving Eleanor. Some months ago I read a book about some of the Indian women involved in framing the constitution, some of whom were also involved in drafting the UDHR which made me want to read more about all of the women who participated in the UDHR process


  2. The Accidental Tourist was my introduction to Anne Tyler, and yes, I remember it being depressing to begin with (and OY that part about his family’s cooking (of sorts) that Thanksgiving turkey… I don’t know the rest of your books but I MUST get a copy of that Ironside novel (being 64 myself and on pension, and also not really wanting to join a book club)!


  3. That was fun! I’ve read Ethan Frome and Less and I enjoyed where you took the links to these books and beyond. I really liked Less, although I know others were critical and wondered how it won the Pulitzer.


  4. I understand completely about bandwidth right now, hence my Very brief Six degrees this year. The accidental tourist was my first Tyler and still one of my favourites.

    I like that you decided not to go bleak.


  5. Love your books and how you try to keep it upbeat! The Accidental Tourist is probably my favourite Anne Tyler book too (not that I’ve read that many), and it’s funny that someone then recommended I try Less, just like you linked the two.


  6. Once again, haven’t read the book and knew nothing about it! Very clever and light hearted chain you have this month. Christmas Time needs to be a bit on the lighter side.

    Season Greetings!

    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

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