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When It’s OK Not to Know the Ending

After recently watching the spy thriller, The Debt, I wondered what happened to the characters’ lives next – after the story ended.  With George Clooney’s The Ides of March, the follow-up from the abrupt plot ending is predictable, given the intrigue of politics, but who knows.  Those loose ends reminded me of  books that end without neatly pulling in the loose threads: did the heroine die or walk off into the sunset?  did that rotten guy get his due?  will the boy/girl grow up to find the cure, change the universe, fall off a cliff?

Without a firm ending, the story goes on in my mind – changing outcomes and possibilities…

A few classic ambiguous endings that come to mind:

  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
  • The Dead by James Joyce
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

Can you think of any?

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2 thoughts on “When It’s OK Not to Know the Ending

  1. I hate and love those endings! I’m so invested that it was obviously good, but oh I so want to know what’s next. Although I feel that even when the story does tie up loose ends, I just hate for them to end.

    As an aside, The Giver was hands down my son’s favourite book last year (he also said it was one of the weirdest books he’s read so far). Lowry does end the story in a sense in the loose trilogy. Although the second book, Gathering Blue, is not seemingly related, the third book, Messenger, ties them both together and gives more answers.

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