No Satisfactory Ending

I’ve just read a book by well-known author that was beautifully written, with an ingenious plot and memorable characters – but it did not have an ending. There was an intriguing story with tension, insights and twists but with no resolution. I expected, as one does with most books, to have a satisfactory ending, either dramatic and explosive or quiet and restrained. I was curious about how the conflicts would be resolved.  But nothing happened.  There was no ending.  The author just stopped writing and the reader was left in mid air.  I kept turning back to see if I had missed something, to see if there was some clue which might inform me what had happened to the characters, in whose lives I had become interested. But I could find no indication as to how the story ended. I felt let down. I suppose there are many events in real life that never seem to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Or else we don’t know how they end. So perhaps the author was trying to make this point. But I was disappointed. As a reader, I had invested some time in and emotional commitment to this book, and now I shall never know the end of the story. Am I justified in feeling cheated? As a writer of books, I think endings are extremely important. They don’t always have to be obvious or spelt out, but the author should not avoid the issue.  I like to have a quiet sigh – a moment of intense pleasure when I finish a good book. And then pick up the next one.

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