Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(growls in frustration)

In which I don't spoil the ending, but I do give a hint about it.

Wallace Stegner and I are in a fight. I finished Angle of Repose. And, as I wrote over at Goodreads, the "ending is...disappointing. Not nearly magnificent enough to fit the rest of the book. And Stegner, whom I was holding up as my example of a writer you can trust, sweeps the rug out from under his own story with a cheap trick, and then leaves us hanging. I almost tossed the book across the room."

I love a good ending. I savor a great surprising but satisfying twist. I love an "aha!" I can take ambiguity and questions. I'm even occasionally up for a slightly unrealistic but makes me smile happy as a banana split tie it all together ending.

What I cannot stand is for an author to sell out his own story, and with it, his readers. I respect story. I respect beginnings and middles and ends. I think beginnings are promises and middles are journeys and the end has to be some sort of destination and fulfillment of the promise. If your beginning is the first slice of bread, and the middle is turkey and cheese, your ending cannot be beef nachos.

I know life is an unsure journey. And I am sure better Stegner scholars than I could eloquently justify the "WHAT?!" moment in the first sentence of the last chapter of this book. But me, I feel cheated.

I'm going to read The Last Olympian. Rick Riordan had better not let me down...


cath c said...

wow, what a twist from your last post. that's too bad.

you remind me of years ago when i went to see 4 weddings and a funeral and felt the writing and everything about it was stupendous (except andi macdowell was a little flatlined in her performance, forgiveably so) until the last scene in the rain when andi macdowell asks 'is it raining? i hadn't even noticed!'

well, i jumped up out of my seat and yelled at the screen what a cheap shot that was after all the prior excellent writing, etc. did they not have any faith in their audience?! sheesh! i felt incredibly ripped off.

yes, i did garner stares. but i think some of them were thanking me. the intelligent ones anyway...

so sorry, it really seemed like you were enjoying the book, too.

C.R. Evers said...

ohhh no! I hate when that happens! How horrible!

Maybe I won't be so quick to add this to my list after all.

Jacqui said...

cath c, I KNOW! I don't usually actually toss books, but I did drop this one to my chest (I read in bed) and say, "NO!"

Christy, I want to say it's still worth reading because the rest is so great, but try Crossing to Safety instead.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I'm willing to give writers a break on their endings only because I suck at writing them myself.