* endings

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 26, 2012

Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

  • the ending, which I will not reveal, is, in my view, too quickly rendered, not quite believeable, and has nothing to do with the main theme of the book
  • However … it was also a total surprise which tied together all of the unexplained threads that have puzzled the reader, and in Perry’s sure hand it actually worked quite well.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

  • the Abbess “had felt not only the breath of old age against her cheek, but also a graver warning” (the lack of a successor) … foreboding establishes tension … will she accomplish her life’s work?
  • This question was never again addressed until the final pages of the story, when it is beautifully resolved.
  • Soon we shall all die, we are told, and memory of us “will have left the earth.”
  • But the “love will have been enough,” and all “impulses of love return to the love that made them,” ie to God.
  • beautiful last sentence … “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

The Instrument by John O’Hara

  • Yank has not grown at all, remaining the same totally self-absorbed (but honest) person he was when the story started. There was never any reason to feel any emotion towards him.
  • Yank has used other people and when he had gotten what he could from them, he moved on.
  • So we are left with Yank Lucas, writer of plays, incapable of feeling emotion except in the characters his talent (his “instrument” ?) creates for the stage. Hollow.

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

  • at the end of the book, there are major unresolved issues, which are not even acknowledged by Perez-Reverte.
    • Who is the green-eyed girl?
    • Why does she follow Corso and help him?
    • What happens to Varo Borja, who has committed murders but is not (yet) sought by the police?
  • Is this effective? I find it frustrating. Did I miss something?
  • what seems like two unrelated stories are intertwined and become a single story, then end up to be two separate stories. Perez-Reverte is playing with the reader, which angers me.
  • I came to the end of the book with great anticipation that the threads would be tied up and then felt great disappointment when they were not.
  • At the end of the book, there is an implication that the Ceniza brothers did in fact forge a page, at Corso’s request, thus preventing Varo Borja from achieving his contact with the devil. This page was never shown or mentioned before, or if it was, I missed it. There must have been a better (more clear) way to present this, so perhaps the author wanted it to be unclear, maybe to be thought of long after finishing the book.
  • But he leaves unexplained why Corso would have thought to have the page forged, and for what purpose, at the point in the story when this would have been done?  Another frustrating aspect of the ending to this book.

The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

  • I look to find my book as I go along.  Plot comes last.
  • I want my conception of my characters to be deep enough that they will get me to places (which I did not plan) and where I have to live by my wits.
  • If the characters stay alive, and keep developing, the plot will take care of itself.
  • Is there a problem if the reader senses that the author doesn’t know how the plot turns out?

Write Away by Elizabeth George

  • I always know the end in advance
  • after the climax comes resolution – tie up loose ends, illustrate the nature of the change that has occurred in the characters
  • you need to end every story (ie, every sub-plot as well) you begin

What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

  • I expected more. I’m not sure what, but more.
  • It’s hard to imagine Sammy upset with his runaround wife for very long.
  • Upset at younger men nipping at his heels, for sure, but for poking his wife, I don’t think so.
  • He didn’t love her, and he would get over the embarrassment, probably find a way to turn it to advantage.
  • He’s not happy. He’s never going to be happy. But ‘happy’ wasn’t ever his goal. Money and power were his goals.
  • Sammy was never portrayed as introspective enough to understand and be upset at what his life had become, and since he did not ‘grow’ over the course of the book, we never got a sense that his original goals might have changed or even be questioned.
  • We sense the incompleteness of his life, but does he?
  • Perhaps Schulberg was too close to the film industry and some of its major players to go any further than he did in dramatizing the essential emptiness of the success driven life.
  • I never cried for Sammy Glick.


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