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The End, or Something - The New York Times
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- Book Review: The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis – ppln-oz.org;
Then, the consequences, however briefly handled, are alluded to at the very end of the piece. Sounds so simple. Does Lizzie find true love?
Does Johnny survive the war? Johnny comes home to a parade, or in a box. Or is that too simple? Lizzie starts off looking for love and ends up opening a successful coffee shop. Johnny defects from the Western Front and takes up potato farming. If the story is written by one of my undergraduate students, Lizzie and Johnny will both turn out to have been vampires the whole time!
The End or Something like That
This is a high-wire act, to be sure. Fitzgerald had to make us believe things just might work out for Gatsby and Daisy, but still leave enough clues so later we could see they were doomed from the start.
And how could I have really thought J. Rowling was going to polish off Harry Potter at the end of the seventh book? When the rare Red Wedding occurs, we all tip our hats.
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One solution is the ambiguous ending. Well, she meets our veteran Johnny and after three awkward dates they sleep together. In the night he screams during PTSD nightmares. In the morning she sees a bird, stuck on the fire escape, flapping a broken wing.
The end. But a novel aims not to represent just a slice of life, but the whole of it.
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We need more than just artfully posed questions. We expect to know unambiguously who is virtuous and who is corrupt, and have a novelist mete out fates accordingly. Any further feels like playing God.
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