Friday, 21 November 2014

Better endings

This week's Booking Through Thursday is:

If you could change the ending of any book you’ve read, which would it be and how would you change it?


The one that stands out most for me is Charles Pallister's The Quincunx. I read it some years ago, and it's a wonderfully thick novel in the style of Charles Dickens. All the way through it was detailed, atmospheric, and featured strong and interesting characters. It felt as though it was leading to a strong, revealing conclusion, but instead ended in an ambiguous, and for me very unsatisfying, way. I'm sure it was done deliberately, but one of the things I really like about nineteenth-century realism is the reassuring fact that you know things will be resolved at the end. Having invested so much time and become so attached to the characters, I felt almost cheated not finding out their endings, and the rest of the novel was so well written that I'm sure it could have been a fantastic ending, if he'd chosen to include it. I feel like it should have ended in a bittersweet manner, or maybe even tragically, but I really wanted closure one way or another.

How about you, what would you choose to change if you could?

3 comments:

La Coccinelle said...

I've never even heard of this one!

Ambiguous endings bother me, too... which is why I try to avoid them, if possible.

Dithers said...

It's well worth reading, in spite of the ending (or lack thereof), if you enjoy Dickens. If I didn't know otherwise I could have believed it was written by him!

Lindsay said...

No closure? What? That just seems rude. I can understand not wanting to wrap up every storyline and every character's future, particularly when there's a lot of world-building going on (I'm a Harry Potter fan), but it doesn't seem fair to do that when the rest of the story has been so rich.