I’ve noticed a common theme in quite few of the books I’ve read this year, loads of them have left me hanging.
In most cases, the endings have still been superb, I can appreciate a story being left open ended, I quite like a cliff hanger but that doesn’t mean I haven’t sworn at a sudden ending or been left with all the questions.
I like to have a definitive answer. Yes, yes, I know I can draw my own conclusions but there is always that nagging little voice that would like to know one way or another what actually happened.
I’ll have questions about what happened next for years to come about the following stories….
We are all birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
Man, I want to know what happened to Sameer.
I mean, it didn’t look good for him. It was a pretty ominous ending.
He’d moved to Uganda, learnt about his family history, got hitched and was starting his own business, he was struggling, and those same prejudices kept rearing their ugly heads.
As cliff hangers go, it was superbly executed but I’d like Hafsa to let me know if my assumptions around Sameer’s fate are correct.
The Push by Ashley Audrain
One of the greatest final sentences ever written.
That is how you finish a book, that is how you leave a reader wanting more and I definitely want more.
I want to know what happened to Blythe and her demon child Violet, I want to go for a coffee with Ashley Audrain and I want to quiz her about it.
I imagine everyone else who read this book feels the same because I had all the questions.
Rose of Sarajevo by Ayse Kulin
Right, I did have an issue with this ending.
It ended in the middle of a war.
I enjoy historical fiction; this book did a great job of filling in the huge gaps in my knowledge of the Balkans war and then it just ended.
I understand what Kulin was doing but the story ended in the middle of a war, I wanted the full story of the conflict, I wanted to know what happened to Nimeta’s family and whether they survived.
I was kind of pissed off that she’d just stopped writing, I searched frantically for sequel, there isn’t one and there should be. The end didn’t leave me satisfied, this just irritated me.
Yes, I’m including a TV show on this list, bit of a cheat I guess, but if you’ve seen The Sopranos you will understand why!!!
This is probably the most discussed ending of a TV show ever – I am going to add a spoiler here you have been warned.
A few hours after I finished reading Rose of Sarajevo, I settled down to watch the final episode of the Sopranos. As I was nearing the end of the final season, I kept thinking “I’m not sure how they’re going to wrap all this up in two hours”.
What I didn’t expect after investing 86 hours was that final scene….
Mob boss Tony’s sat in a restaurant with his family, there’s a couple of dodgy looking dudes who appear to be watching him, his daughter Meadow walks through the door, he looks up and then the scene cuts to black and it ends.
I was that surprised, I laughed. Scott on the other hand was much more vocal, I won’t repeat the language used but it rhymed with ducking bunts.
I respect the ballsyness of ending a series like that. The creator knew what we wanted to see (I certainly wanted to see Tony get his comeuppance) and instead David Chase stuck a middle finger up to us all and used a black screen instead.
I applaud him for that.
I have read since that Tony was killed, I want to know by who and why.
I know what you’ve done by Dorothy Koomson
I love Dorothy Koomson, she’s an auto buy author for me.
She’s queen of the unexpected twist and her books never fail, I loved her latest I know what you’ve done, a tale of drama and nosy neighbours on quiet cul-de-sac, it was brilliant.
She does tie up the loose ends, we’re left in doubt who the culprit is and what the motivation for getting rid of Priscilla were.
My big question though, what happened to Priscilla at the end?
There could be a whole over story in that alone and I’m here for it. While we’re at it, I’d really like a third Ice Cream Girls book too.
All of these cliff hanger endings have stayed with me for months. They all had an impact on me in some way. Whether it was laughing hysterically, mouth wide open, staring in disbelief or swearing.
In each of the five stories I’ve picked out, I’d invested in the characters, they may not have always been nice or easy to like but they were brilliant characters who I’d enjoyed reading about, I wasn’t always ready for the story to end. That’s the aim of a writer, create a story and characters that a reader savours, a story that will make someone stick with a book until the end.
There’s been so many books I’ve read and characters I’ve liked that I’ve wanted to know more about after turning the last page – Jamie and Tash in Do they know it’s Christmas yet are a prime example thankfully there is a sequel. I’d read more about Marissa in Magpie, what Adunni go on to achieve in Girl with the louding voice? Did Margot end her days with the love of her life on the other side of the world?
The endings I’ve listed above were great, I can even see why the Rose of Sarajevo ended in the way it did, I may have been annoyed at the time, but it left an impression and that’s what is important. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of story and thinking ‘meh’.
Have you read any of the above? Or is there a story that left you with questions, wanting to know what happened next? Let me know in the comments.
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