Week 2: What Is a Novella?
Ponder the definition, list favourites, or choose ones you think best capture the ‘spirit’ of a novella.
During week 1 I read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I have not pondered too much on the 'spirit' of a good novella. Now, when thinking of it, I presume that Ethan Frome is a very good example of a good novella. Although it covers only a short time, it seems that we know the characters. There is a story before the the novell starts, the story itself, and an ending continuing into the future. Although we are only meeting the characters in the middle of the story, we seem to know their whole life.
It is actually the first book I read by Edith Wharton. It was a great surprise and her writing is wonderful.
"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."
It is a sad and tragic story of love and hardship set against a harsh environment. Ethan's efforts to try to solve the situation leads to devastating consequences for all of them. I loved this story, sad as it is. Mostly because of Wharton's wonderful prose which is so lively and vivid. She makes her characters come alive and we feel we have known them a long time. A wonderful novella, and a good start to Novellas in November.
Some years ago, I read The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. I just remember that I did not really grasp the story and the ending. It is now a limited series on Netflix, and someone said it was very good. I am thinking of re-reading the novella this week, as I watch the tv-series. Have you read it? Seen the series? What do you think about it?