GONE GIRL Unresolved Ending Not Unique 2

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.

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2 thoughts on “GONE GIRL Unresolved Ending Not Unique

  • S.J. Dunn

    Although I didn’t like the ending to GONE GIRL, I didn’t object to it solely because of what happens at the end.

    What I objected to was that the ending wasn’t sufficiently justified, i.e., I didn’t believe it. I think her editors let her down by not forcing her to spend more time on the ending so that the reader could believe what happened. Perhaps we would have disliked the ending even more had she done so, but that’s a different thing than a reader disbelieving the ending.

    • Rob Bacon Post author

      I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book with an ending that elicited more responses. The lack of clear resolution certainly gave readers fodder for discussion, and while I don’t believe this was intentional (setting it up for controversy), it created buzz. And what does a bestseller require except the ability to foment interest? As for the ending as it’s written, I’m probably the only person on the planet who found the finish perfectly logical considering the lead characters’ personalities and motivations. Sheryl, thanks for your comment.