Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting for the Other Shoe

Usually it's a point of pride for me that I don't mind knowing the ending of a book (or at least the basic plot line) while I am reading it.

Sometimes friends will try to be coy with me, with the adult variation of the classic elementary school book report cop-out: "If you want to know more about this book,  you'll just have to read it."  I always reply honestly and vehemently that knowing the ending doesn't "spoil" a book for me. I'm an English major, for goodness' sake! I like reading the critical work beforehand!

But I have to confess: I am (still) reading Angle of Repose and as I get closer and closer to the ending, I keep remembering the words of an English professor friend, who said it was one of the most tragic and devastating endings he's ever read. That's high praise, sort of - but I just can't get it out of my mind. 

As the book turns darker and darker, I am wondering what the ending could possibly be. The endings I can imagine all seem rather conventional - love triangles and layered stories of past and present woes and disappointments often lead to murder, suicide, and destruction in various other forms. I can't imagine any other outcome besides something bittersweet, at best. And I've been warned that the actual ending is much worse.

I suppose I could relieve the suspense by reading ahead, or by reading some reviews and finding out what happens, but that seems like cheating somehow.  I just don't want to do it, and rob myself of the full impact of this slam bang finish that's just 100 or so pages away.

I'm trapped, then. So I'm just reading as fast as I can. 


  1. I've had that experience before! But then I have always read the end because I love reading the end and I can't not read the end.

    1. I thought of you! You might have been fooled, though, because this is a story within a story and it has a double ending. The most dramatic part is just a couple of paragraphs, not near the end at all.


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