I’ve been thinking about endings — as I am wont to do — & I thought I’d list a few of my favourites to inspire you to tell me your own favourite ending:
* Best ending = LITTLE BIG, by John Crowley: I don’t often describe a book a ‘beautiful’, & that’s because I’m reserving the label for Little Big. This is a stunning, satisfying, unsettling, undeniable book. I’ve never been more convinced by a book — more convinced it was real, & merely transcribed. My first writing teacher, Terry Dowling, mentioned this book as having the ‘perfect last line’. What I remember of it is the sheer bittersweetness of the whole journey. I love this book.
* Most surprising ending = THE LAND OF LAUGHS, Jonathan Carroll: I’m a big Carroll fan, & my love affair began here, as it should, with The Land of Laughs. Thing is, the ending of the book is so … downbeat, say … that I actually turned the page expecting to see, well, another page. I was mistaken.
* Best subversive ending = THE BLOOD OF ROSES, Tanith Lee: This could be my favourite Lee book. This, or THE BIRTHGRAVE, I’m not sure which. But this one has the best haHAA! ending, the best ‘ohwillyoulookatthat, establishedempire, Ibetyouweren’texpectingTHAT!’ ending. I would almost call it a barbaric yawp of an ending.
* Best no-don’t-end ending = ASH, A SECRET HISTORY, Mary Gentle: I have a bunch of Gentle books on my shelves, but I’m afraid to read them in case they don’t live up to A Secret History.
* Best ah-get-fcked ending = THE SPARROW, Mary Doria Russell: I loved this book. I didn’t necessarily love the ending, though.
* Best we’re-all-gonna-die ending = a tie, between Angel (end of endings, Season 5) & Blake’s 7 (Season 4 — were there only 4 seasons??). Both featured that against-all-odds kinda ending that fires the blood, sets the heart racing & makes you want to leap into the TV & fight alongside your erstwhile, ill-fated heroes. Rawr!
* Best we’re-almost-all-gonna-agree-on-this ending: Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. Curse you, William Goldman, for your soul-destroying, heart-wrenching scripts & your gorgeous ‘dumb courage’ theme. I both love and hate you.