Saturday, October 15, 2005

This is the end

Speaking of Thumbsucker, the author of said work has a new one. The NYT review gives it the "his best yet" treatment, but concludes with this interesting statement. "(the ending) amounts to a letdown, of course, but also points toward the disappointment of most fictional endings, the tendency of inspired premises to fade into the light of common day."

I've never thought of endings in this manner, and I am not sure I agree. If I understand the reviewer correctly he is saying that no ending can live up to the idea that the book creates. Perhaps because fiction is inherently unreal and cannot represent reality? Or maybe because an ending requires some level of tidying? If done well an ending can fizzle out and well represent the messiness of life. In general I am happy with most literary fiction's endings (always exceptions, such as Fortress of Solitude) Mysteries and thrillers on the other hand often do fail to live up to the surprises and plot twists generated throughout the book. For literary fiction, the ending is in many ways not so important, as the experience of the entire novel is that which resonates. You still can get a sucker punch from tricksy writers like Ian McEwan, but they risk overwhelming the rest of the novel with their gotcha.

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