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The End of the Story

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,083 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Mislabeled boxes, problems with visiting nurses, confusing notes, an outing to the county fair--such are the obstacles in the way of the unnamed narrator of The End of the Story as she attempts to organize her memories of a love affair into a novel. With compassion, wit, and what appears to be candor, she seeks to determine what she actually knows about herself and her pas ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Picador (first published December 1st 1994)
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K.D. Absolutely
Jan 10, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2004-2010)
There is some kind of style in this book that made me like it. That style is strange and I did not know how Davis was able to walk away with it.

(1) No plot
(2) No dialogues
(3) Started the 1st person narration ("unreliable") with the ending of the story
(4) Time period went back and forth with no pattern
(5) Unnecessary characters, events, musings

It’s an endless recollection of the unnamed narration’s failed love story with a man 12 years her senior. The narrator is a college literature professor an

That's really all I can say.
One of the few books I come back to over and over again. I have never read anything quite like this nearly plotless, dialogue-less book detailing the slow decline of a relationship. The tone is hauntingly lonely and there is never a question about where the narrative is headed, but the observations are so smart and the sentences so well-crafted that I highly recommend this book to those interested in reading about the small nuances of desperate, yet honest love.
1.5 stars

Rub enough elbows with the literary cognoscenti, you're bound to hear glowing praise about Lydia Davis' short stories. I was delighted to see The End of the Story, her first novel, made available to our library system's e-book exchange to see what the hoopla was all about.

Delight turned to unalleviated boredom rather quickly, followed by utter exasperation with the realization (at about page 40) that it never was going to get any better. It's further frustrating that many GR folks fou
Jim Elkins
(This review was originally on Amazon. Then, when Amazon seemed big and impersonal and no one read anyone else's reviews, I put it on LibraryThing. Then, when LibraryThing got big and remained wonderfully impersonal and one one read anyone else's reviews, I put it on Goodreads.)

This is an astonishing novel. I have more or less given up writing reviews for Amazon, because (as Nicholson Baker points out) they don't seem to add to anything or create any kind of community, they just sink into the ge
Jun 09, 2014 Rand rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the sea
Recommended to Rand by: the river
I always cry at endings.

This is the way in which we learn to let go while holding on .

Because when loss lessens us to the point that love's lessons leave us spent, less is more. Sometimes it takes a certain sort of numbness—time, work, drugs, sleep, food— to know how to begin to feel again.

Because there are parts of the heartwhich are always crying and that is the fountain of compassion.

Sold this book because I thought some other thing would take my mind off of that which this book elapses. Did
Sep 06, 2011 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: age-disparate relationships
It seems like every sentence in this book was carefully constructed to convey the maximum amount of sadness any person has ever felt in the history of people feeling sad. I tried reading this once before and couldn't get past the whole 'story about writing a story' thing and Davis's style of writing was so extremely different than what I'm used to that I put it away for later when I could appreciate it. This time, I found it just as difficult and demanding and, at times, unfathomably boring as i ...more
Christina Rau
How much do I adore Lydia Davis? I like her writing because no one is able to categorize it. Sometimes a work of hers that appears in a prose magazine will also appear in a poetry magazine--the same exact piece of writing. I love that. Some libraries list her stuff as personal essays while others have it in the fiction section.

The End Of The Story is definitely a novel. I know that because the narrator keeps referring to what she's writing as a novel and the novel she's writing is the novel I w
M. Sarki
I made it more than half way through this basic retread of some short stories Lydia Davis has previously written and published. Seems she writes a bit here and there about a boy and her relationship and perhaps a bit more about a girl and her relationship and sometimes about both of them and her relationship with them all and by the time I get to where I am I am so tired and too tired of reading this boring tale of nothing. Ray Johnson, the artist, whose last act was a performance piece in which ...more
Oct 04, 2007 Nathanial rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ponderous pontificators
Shelves: fiction
just because. just because the sentences don't end, like the landscapes. because the mix of how she moves from thoughts to deeds, place to past, memories to wish. it doesn't have to be that way, the words we said didn't have to be the words we said, the way he carries his shoulders and head don't begin to describe the longing that resides inside, when the sound of a whisker scratches the surface of a page he's reading in the back room, where kitchen tiles stack on the paint-spattered counter and ...more
I admire what the author did with this book and the way she captured the challenge of processing memories after the fact, of trying to reconstruct a logical timeline of events as they actually occurred, not how we have come to believe they happened or how we wish they had happened. It was definitely a unique book and was worth reading for that alone. However, the story itself just never grabbed my interest and I never felt at all invested in the characters or their actions, so in the end this bo ...more
i got the voice of this narrator in my head and i'm not sure i want her out of my head
Non ricordo esattamente perché avevo The End of the Story di Lydia Davis nella mia wishlist, e devo ammettere che non è esattamente il mio genere di libro. The End of the Story parla di una storia d'amore, o meglio, della sua fine, come capiamo già dal titolo e come la protagonista ci racconta fin dalle prime pagine, avendo deciso di raccontare per prima proprio la fine, o meglio, un evento che per lei ha rappresentato la fine della storia:

This seemed to be the end of the story, and for a while
Stephen told me the other day I wasn’t a sensitive person and I was all, “Yes I am,” confusing ‘sensitive’ with ‘perceptive’ and ‘thoughtful’ and then started adding, “Just because I’m not going to sit around and blah blah blah feelings all day and cry over puppies and care about things that are just stupid and,” needless to say he was all, “Point proven.” I guess this furthers his cause, as some of the sentences were stabbingly beautiful and I’m always interested in the exploration of faulty me ...more
Without a doubt, one of the great books on writing that is not non-fiction, but in fact a work of fiction. On one level, a narrative (of sorts) regarding the beginning and ending of a relationship, or what we are led to believing is a relationship. One is not sure, since we're getting the story or narrative from the author -for all I know she maybe making this all up, or it could be a demented diary of sorts. Fragmented, yet totally readable, the narrator comments on every aspect of her relation ...more
Sep 01, 2011 Emily added it
Shelves: read-in-2011
As a break from the theoretical turn Evening All Afternoon has been taking of late, let me rhapsodize straightforwardly about the numerous things I love in the writing of Lydia Davis. In particular, I've just finished her 2004 The End of the Story, which treats of the end, beginning, and aftermath (in that order) of a love affair, and also of the process of transforming that love affair into a novel.

I was particularly intrigued to pick up Davis's novel, as her stories tend to the radically succ
I had a really hard time getting through this small book. I like Lydia Davis, and I respect her a lot as a writer. That's why I'm not giving this book 1 star. I felt like for all of the time she described organizing her thoughts, this was a disorganized mess of rambling. It was not only a story about her failed relationship with someone who was not right for her, whom she didn't much care for until he left her, but also the story of her writing the story. I wanted to care, but I couldn't make my ...more
I'm giving this a three because it is a difficult book to like, but an important book to love because here Davis fearlessly confronts the process of resurrecting narrative from our emotional past. It's a dissection, really, of the mind's attempt to make linear sense of the heart, the arm's length of what we call love, the deeper romance of despair. Important for anyone who thinks they write nonfiction, or who thinks they write fiction, or who thinks.
Jesús Santana
El amor como hilo conductor en una relación de pareja con una considerable diferencia de edad, donde la desconfianza, el posible interés, la sospecha permanente del uno hacia el otro llevará a una dependencia de la protagonista por su particular compañero convirtiéndose todo en una obsesión cuando ya todo se ha terminado y se da cuenta viendo hacia atrás de cómo el tiempo de esa relación resultó un gran fracaso, esta es la base donde Lydia Davis va a contarnos una trama de obsesión y manipulació ...more
Eu zic că dacă, la finalul romanului Lydiei Davis, nu eşti epuizat, „muncit” de-a binelea, înseamnă că ai făcut o lectură de suprafaţă, agrementală. Or, Sfârşitul poveştii e orice, numai un roman comod şi superficial de (pe)trecut timpul nu e. Bine construită, excelent scrisă, în convenţia stilistică a scrisului american „alb”, neutru, fără podoabe, dar şi în aceea a frazei curgătoare, proustiene (autoarea a tradus din Proust – dar şi din Blanchot, Leiris, Foucault, şi acest lucru se simte), car ...more

Another reason, maybe even more important, is that this cup of tea, prepared for me by a stranger to give me some relief from my exhaustion, was not only a gesture of kindness, from a person who could not know what my trouble was, but also a ceremonial act, as though the offer of a cup of tea became a ceremonial act as soon as there was a reason for ceremony, even if the tea was cheap and bitter, with a paper tab hanging over the side of the mug. And since all along there had been too many
1. Who would have guessed that an overly self-conscious novel about a self-conscious character/narrator/author writing a novel about the self-conscious remembrance of a failed love affair would be boring and eye-roll-worthy and self-involved? Just kidding, anyone could have guessed that.

2. A quote: Vincent (husband of the unnamed narrator [whose name is presumably Lydia Davis... it's that kind of book:] in the portion of the story in which this novel is being written, you follow?) happens to be
Vincent Scarpa
A wonderful novel about the folly of trying to contain the uncontainable, to understand that which can not be understood, to find or force sense and order and meaning in a situation that one is too closely tied to and so is prevented from seeing. The narrator reaches something like a conclusion—an admission of defeat perhaps, an acknowledgement of that which is and is not possible—on p.171: “The center is missing, the original is gone, all that I try to form around it may not resemble the origin ...more
'and what I had written did not seem important.'

Reading this book is like a magic eye picture: you have to hold in your mind several contrary different versions of events, of characters or interactions. It is a love story, or rather a break up story but it is also a story about beginnings and endings, about the act of writing itself, as a record or memory - how inaccurate and difficult it is. The prose is dense and twists inward on itself but give it your time and this is an immensely rewarding
For the last couple of years I've been happily dropping in and out of Lydia Davis' Collected Stories to much delight so when I saw this and the praise, I was keen. My god. What a slog.

I barely crawled over the end. In fact, I took to reading it on the exercise bike as it was the only way I could guarantee 30 mins of reading without other distractions.

It's not just the lack of plot or the meandering structure. For me, it was the complete inanity of the content and the depth of obsessive thinking
Brutally honest. Ouch, ouch, ouch. So many moments while reading this book when I thought "THIS IS ME." So many folded-over pages to mark memorable passages that it borders on book vandalism. At one point I even inhaled my breath sharply, as though I'd been stabbed. This is an utterly unique, devastating novel with no plot--the closest thing it has to a traditional structure is the narrator's obsession with a disintegrating love affair. But even so her lover still remains fairly anonymous by the ...more
Nicole Lynn Redinski
I love Lydia Davis. Anyone who knows anything about me at least knows that. There's something about that way that she slips and slides her way through her work--whether it be short stories or something longer--using different techniques, relying on different metaphors, seemingly creating something out of nothing. The End of the Story is a perfect example of that.

This novel starts and finishes with no real plot, no dialogue, no set time frame. All it really is is an idea. A woman is trying to wr
Ugh, this novel is a slog. Its a completely unromantic deconstruction of an affair between a woman academic in her thirties and some twenty-something grad student. There are a few amazingly insightful looks into the machinations of the love-sick mind, but I didn't care about any of the characters, there was no plot to speak of, and the prose read like something from a dry and especially tedious court depostion. I love Lydia Davis's short-shorts, but this was unpleasant.
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Lydia Davis, acclaimed fiction writer and translator, is famous in literary circles for her extremely brief and brilliantly inventive short stories. In fall 2003 she received one of 25 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” awards. In granting the award the MacArthur Foundation praised Davis’s work for showing “how language itself can entertain, how all that what one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold ...more
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“Then, although it was still the end of the story, I put it at the beginning of the novel, as if I needed to tell the end first in order to go on and tell the rest. It would have been simpler to begin at the beginning, but the beginning didn’t mean much without what came after, and what came after didn’t mean much without the end.” 1 likes
“Then, although it was still the end of the story, I put it at the beginning of the novel, as if I needed to tell the end first in order to go on and tell the rest.” 0 likes
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