Happy Endings

Is it me, as Wogan says, most mornings, and yes, most of the time I'm a Tog, with occasional gloomy aberrations into Radio 4 territory - is it me, or are the endings of books profoundly unsatisfactory these days? I'm not about to name names, because I'm not in the business of slagging off my fellow professionals, but I have read several interesting, entertaining and well written novels over the past year... until the last few pages, whereupon I was left with a feeling of profound disappointment. A sort of 'oh, is that all it was?' moment. Sometimes the book just peters out, as though the writer got bored. Sometimes the ending is much too neat. Sometimes there's an unlikely twist, which is dropped in without any preamble.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read a superb novel called One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. The whole book is exceptional, but one of the most satisfying things about it is the ending, which is a wee stroke of genius. I turned the page and my jaw literally dropped. But it wasn't just the unexpected twist. It was the fact that all the clues had been there, subtly, carefully planted. So even while you were thinking 'My God!' you were also starting to think 'But of course that's what happened! Of course it did!' Quite the best ending of any novel I have read for a very long time. Read it and learn.


Anonymous said…
I have to be devil's advocate here - throughly enjoyed the book (though maybe not as much as Case Histories) but found the end a bit too neat!
I know what you mean Alison -but all the same, I just didn't expect it - and I usually anticipate endings, plotlines, you name it. And there were so many other things that were left open ended (who was the other Russian girl for instance?) that I just didn't mind the neatness of that particular point! Am thoroughly in love with Jackson, as well.