Hello, and apologies for my fortnight’s absence – I have been in the midst of my English Literature A-Level exams. They are finished now and all being well with my grade (fingers crossed) I will be starting to study the subject at University in September, which is very exciting!
I am returning with a brand new blog feature: ‘My Tuesday Trio’. In this weekly post, I will be choosing three books that best exhibit a certain literary feature, whether it is the best beginnings, endings, or anything in between! If you have suggestions for a My Tuesday Trio post I would love to hear from you.
This week I will be choosing my top 3 endings in literature:
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. One of the few remaining fertile women after radiation poisoning, she is ‘gifted’ to one of the high-ranking Commanders of the regime. Subject to an uber-controlling, militarised rule, she fights to survive without forsaking her free will and capacity for passion – in a world where love has become surplus to function.
Why Top Three? The ending of The Handmaid’s Tale is so innovative that it made me stare blankly into space for ages after finishing the book, trying to collect my thoughts. It completely alters how you view the rest of the story! As one of my assignments this year, I wrote 1,500 words just on the final chapter of the book, so that should give you some indication of how major the ending is.
- The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Synopsis: Intensely self-conscious of her facial scarring, Sage Singer works the night shifts in a bakery and shuns company. However, she strikes up a friendship with Josef Weber who attends the same grief support group, who also has a painful story to tell. However, Sage is soon to find out that knowing the story does not mean knowing the storyteller…
Why Top Three? The ending of The Storyteller is another that irrevocably changes your perspective on the rest of the story. I was not expecting the final twist at all, it is one of those unexpected moments in a book that leaves you completely blindsided. Such a powerful ending made me ask some major questions about the nature of evil and forgiveness.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Synopsis: The Book Thief is a powerful and emotive story about Liesel Meminger, a German girl whose humanity shines through the brutality of World War Two. Translated into over 40 languages, Zusak’s novel has moved readers worldwide (it certainly reduced me to tears!) As hopeful as it is harrowing, The Book Thief is a poignant portrayal of the human capacity for endurance and compassion.
Why Top Three? The ending of The Book Thief is not the dramatic twist that occurs in the previous choices. It is still unpredictable, yet its focus is less on surprise factor and more on reaching the climax of the turbid emotional experience that is reading this book, to end with almost painful poignancy. Its powerful final line – ‘I am haunted by humans’ – also remains one of my favourites in any book.
“I am haunted by humans.” ~ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
What is your favourite ending in literature? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!