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The Smash-Up: Ethan Frome Modernized
February 25 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bestselling novelist Ali Benjamin will hold a free virtual conversation with wardwinning novelist and journalist Amy Bloom on Benjamin’s new novel, The Smash-up, with the Mount, Edith Wharton’s historic home in Lenox.
The Smash-Up is inspired by Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome, set in the Berkshires, exploring a strained marriage in a small town. Benjamin takes an intimate look at a family divided in a time of national rancor.
It’s September 2018. In Washington, D.C.,and in cities and towns across America, women have taken to the streets to protest a Supreme Court nominee. And in a sleepy rural town where nothing much ever happens, Ethan’s apparently quiet life has turned upside down.
His wife, Zo, is enraged by the national political scene. She has transformed their home into a local headquarters for the Resistance. His college roommate and former business partner faces #metoo allegations, sending Ethan into increasingly desperate financial straits. His daughter, Alex, grows more challenging by the day, as she asserts her own view of the world.
Enter Maddy Silver, a breezy, blue-haired millennial making her way through the gig economy, and Ethan and Zo find themselves questioning everything: their past, their future, their marriage, and what they value most. And all the while, a world-rocking cultural smash-up is coming closer to home.
Ali Benjamin is the author of the young adult novel The Thing About Jellyfish, an international bestseller and a National Book Award finalist. Her book The Next Great Paulie Fink was named a top children’s book of the year by Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, the New York Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. Her work has been published in more than twenty-five languages in more than thirty countries. Originally from the New York City area, she now lives in Massachusetts. This is her first adult novel.
Amy Bloom is the author of two New York Times best-sellers and three collections of short stories, a children’s book, a ground-breaking collection of essays, and many pilot scripts for cable and network television. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, O Magazine, and Vogue, among other publications. She lives in Connecticut and is now Wesleyan University’s Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing.