Book review – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

For my birthday late last year, No (my SO or OH or BH or however one calls their partner on blogs these days) aimed high and hit the nail on the head with the gift of a 12-month book subscription from the amazing The Willoughby Book Club. This means that during the first week of every month during the next year I will receive a book, hand-picked and tailored to my tastes by the book club experts.

This month I received my first parcel (yes, they deliver overseas, an important detail when following UK trends but living in Switzerland), with a lovely message from my SOBH, all wrapped up in purple paper like they knew me already. In it was “Ethan Frome & Other Stories” by Edith Wharton (Arcutrus, 2011). 20160122_160712

Bear in mind this is a short story, which explains the length of my review – come back next month for the review of the next book (which may or may not be any longer, we shall see!).

Summary

In the bleak winter setting of aptly-named Starkfield, a tragedy has unfolded behind closed doors. The narrator relays a story he has pieced together from asking around the village. Ethan Frome, a reserved and broken-looking fifty-something piques the reader’s curiosity and his story is is as dramatic as it is short. He was dealt a hard hand in life from the time of his parents’ decline in health. His unhappy marriage to a taciturn yet provocative woman limits his  youthful aspirations to happiness, learning and change. This is where young Mattie Silver comes in.

Opinion

I love the setting! Reading this in January, in the midst of post-festivity blues and in my cosy reading nook, I found the perfect place to escape to – Starkfield. The forbidden love storyline is one that always appeals to me and this is no different. Though nothing is explicit, the tension created is poignant. You almost wish this was a full-blown novel instead of a short story, but I think the length of the text mirrors the narrative – short and bleak.

Who’s it for?

Lovers of stories of heartbreak – I would say this provides lovers of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights with a booster shot of  hopelessness. Yeah. Sorry. But some of us love it…

 

This is as much as I’ll say about this book. I don’t think it would benefit from an in-depth character analysis or anything of the sort. Sometimes you just read to feel things from the words, without reading in between the lines. This is a perfect example of such a story.

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2016

It’s 2016, and I feel ready to set myself objectives…and follow them through. There are various reasons for this, but mainly – 2016 is the clean start of all clean starts.

This year has started on my own terms – my place, my future, my health, my body, my man, my money (nnyeaah…maybe not always but I’m working hard towards it). Having finally finished part (B)A of my studies, I have a qualification and somehow that makes me feel like I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. Also, 9 months after moving away from home and now in my own place, I get up, get back and go to bed when I like. This kind of freedom has been a long time coming and I intend to fully appreciate it in 2016. It comes with great responsibilities too, but I’ve already started learning – school nights are school nights, fresh foodstuffs must be present in abundance and sometimes, I have to cut myself some slack. No more stressing over nothing. Relax and take time for yourself; the washing, cleaning and tidying can, must and will have to wait.

Having struggled with mental health for most of my BA studies (which took a considerable 6 and a half years to complete), leaving this chapter behind is something that brings me hope. The things that tied I felttied up in, the constant guilt I brought myself down with and the multitude of fears that plagued me are hopefully confined to times now past. Starting my MA will be a means of grounding the new me in more fertile soil. But still, health, mental and not, has to be a priority, something I will always have to be (a)w(e)ar(y/e) (read aware or weary, both apply) of. So 2016 will also be a quest for greater stability and control over my body and mind.

All in all – more paper, less smartphone, more fresh air, less mindless TV, lots of cooking, creating, singing and playing the guitar. But also progress in Vlaams, get my Deutsch C1 certificate, run 10k in well under 1h and read, read, read. Oh and get a new job.IMG-20151025-WA0006

On being a Big Sister

I want to write! A blog! Yay!

But what about? And who for? Who will read me? Why?

Well, to be honest, I have no “niche”. (Yet.) I feel like writing about books, recipes, sharing pictures, talking about my day, my fears and my achievements. These everyday things that we as communicative beings all need to discuss, repeat, embellish or whisper in the dead of night.

So, who do I usually share these things with?

This has lead me to my (hopefully solid) concept –

Big sister – documenting the highs, the lows, the hiccups and the smooth runs in life – whether you like it or not.

I think of it as me sharing my insights and daily challenges –  so that you might not have to repeat the same mistakes (like shaving off all your boyfriend’s hair on a single strip of scalp, and letting him go to work in that state for a week because he just doesn’t care…for example). So whether you are wondering what gadget to buy next, looking for a nice place for lunch in some faraway city or wondering what to do with your life, I hope all will find something interesting to read, to discuss further or to give me much needed advice on.

Welcome to Wield Words, happy 2016 and here’s to sharing it all.

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This is who I am – this is my forever crew – this is why I write