Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me with My Mouth Hanging Open - Top Ten Tuesday #4

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me with My Mouth Hanging Open

The Broke and Bookish comments on today’s topic: “because of the cliffhanger or because it the ending was MINDBLOWING, etc.” I choose to mention only books with mind blowing endings and not to talk about cliffhanger endings for number of reasons. First of all, I’m sick and tired of series (each and every book nowadays is a part of some series and a number attached to it – 2, 6, 50, 1000 – yeah sometimes it feels that some series consists of thousand installments). Second of all, most of contemporary series’ writes are completely misunderstanding the definition of cliffhanger. To end an installment on a cliffhanger doesn’t mean to end it in the middle without any closure whatsoever, to end it as if you were writing and then got tired or got enough words and decided to stop. It also doesn’t mean that this current installment shouldn’t have a climax and should end just before one, in this case the book is not complete, and you just have first so many chapters. To end an installment on a cliffhanger means to end it in suspense. It still means that a book should have the beginning, the middle and the end, only in case of a cliffhanger, the end shouldn’t only wrap up the story, but also reveal something new, something suspenseful. But enough about this, let’s talk about ending that blew my mind away.

  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. The whole book was mind-blowing for me. However the ending made me shiver, not because of a fear, but because of the excitement. The circle is now complete – this is the only thing I will say about this ending, to do not spoil the book for these that haven’t read it yet, but planning to do so.
  2. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This story has one of the most forceful endings. You didn’t see that coming, however it all makes sense and because of that you want to live in the different, better world where such things would not only be senseless, but would also be impossible.
  3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. I watched the movie before I read the book, completely unintentionally; I didn’t know what I was doing. The movie’s ending blew me away and I couldn’t believe that this is the end. I didn’t want to believe that this is the end, even though it made sense.  It turned out that the movie is closely based on the book, so the end was the same. And even though I already knew how it will end, it still left me speechless, because in case of the book it was final, it was set in stone, it was how Ken Kesey wrote it and no space for interpretations or assumptions was available.
  4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – one of the most controversial and powerful endings that I’ve ever come across off.
  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan. As most of the readers, I swallowed the bait Ian McEwan so masterfully planted and didn’t see that coming at all.
  6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. The power of this ending lies for me in the Edith Wharton’s flawless writing style. There were no surprises, only pure beauty of words.
  7. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Only after completing this list I realized that I have two books by John Steinbeck here. However I couldn’t remove either of them. This guy definitely knew how to end his stories.
  8. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. The story is pretty much the same as with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I kept thinking that maybe I misunderstood something in the movie, however book proved that it is exactly as I saw and understood in the movie. I guess I’m just too big of a sucker for happy endings.
  9. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. The story begins same as for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Shutter Island. I watched the movie first. However, in this case I didn’t start reading the book to confirm or rather to disprove my apprehensions. I started to read The Stepford Wives, because the end in the movie didn’t make much sense to me. The book’s mind-blowing ending lay in complete opposition of the movie’s and instantaneously made sense.
  10. Almost any book by Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie is one of very few authors whose mysteries I could never guess correctly. I can have multiple guesses on who did what to whom; however these guesses are usually wrong. I read almost every book Agatha Christie ever written, because she always surprises me and nothing ever is as it seems in her stories.

So which book endings blew you away and why?


Trish said...

Ohh great list of classics! I loved Crime and Punishment so I'd like to get my hands on The Idiot sometime soon, too. Shutter Island made my list this week also.

Annie @ButteryBooks said...

I included both Shutter Island & Atonement(#1) on my list, but I didn't think to add the excellent choices of Christie and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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