Anyone who believes the abstract ending of GONE GIRL unique need only read AMERICAN PASTORAL, Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in the mid-’90s. In AP, three-letter athlete, ex-Marine, and handsome, successful businessman Swede Levov learns that his beauty-queen wife is having an affair with their relatively unattractive architect. The story’s witless protagonist has also just discovered that his terrorist daughter, who has built and placed bombs that killed four people, was provided safe haven by her therapist (who was also Swede’s short-term mistress years earlier).
All of these people are having dinner with the Levovs, when the story ends as Swede’s father is stabbed in the face with a fork wielded by the alcoholic wife of another member of the dinner party–the event having absolutely nothing to do with the storyline. So, after slogging through 200,000 words, what I encapsulated is what the reader is left to ponder. When I read the last line I was so mad I threw the book against the wall. And it won a Pulitzer. Hence, GONE GIRL isn’t at all “special” in this disappointing regard.