Adapted from Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser
“I am not fond of inconclusive endings, and I would not subject you to one if I didn’t think it necessary. I believe, as firmly as the next reader that the writer undertakes to deliver as promised, even if the promise is merely implied, and I get annoyed when the delivery goes missing.”
Have you ever read a book with an inconclusive ending that just left you “hanging”? Sometimes when the conclusion to a novel (or movie) has no satisfactory ending, I want to throw the book across the room, or I promise myself I’ll never watch a movie from that director again.
Lessing was reading a mystery novel and wrote the following:
“We had reached the final page, with the serial killer safely tucked away in the police station, and one of the two detectives who had apprehended the murderer casually asked the other to hazard a guess about the motive. What, she wondered, had caused the killer to commit his crimes in the first place–and why, having committed them, had he voluntarily sent in the obscure piece of evidence that in the end allowed him to be caught? ‘I doubt that he knows the answer to that himself.’ This was an ending? Clearly that author had just decided to pick up his check and go home early.”
Lazy authors don’t give closure or a real conclusion to their readers.