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The End of the Story

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,286 Ratings  ·  184 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 really liked it
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
Jun 24, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 15, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing

That's really all I can say.
May 10, 2015 Snotchocheez rated it did not like it
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
MJ Nicholls
Supreme break-up book
in stark self-aware prose trumps
all-night make-up sex.
Jim Elkins
Jun 26, 2016 Jim Elkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
Minimalist Fiction and Self-Awareness

Davis's minimalist voice (which I find myself mimicking in this review, always a sign of a style's power to inhabit the imagination and control the pen) is not at all the usual minimalism. This novel is life with all its content subtracted away. It's about a love affair, but we are scarcely told anything about what either person looks like. We hear, in passing, that the narrator likes to identify species of grass and spiders, but we aren't given any names of
Jun 09, 2014 Rand rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing  ·  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
M. Sarki
Feb 06, 2016 M. Sarki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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
Christina Rau
Nov 13, 2015 Christina Rau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
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
Jun 17, 2016 Evgeniya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

На пръв поглед (или да кажем - на първо прелистване в книжарницата) писането на Лидия Дейвис изглежда доста просто, но това е само на пръв поглед. Всъщност "Краят на историята" е компексно направено вглеждане в детайлите на любовното преживяване, вглеждане до изнемога с едно мазохистично на моменти удоволствие, в което би се разпознал всеки уважаващ себе си overthinker. ;-) Пиша това с ясното съзнание, че то автоматично ще откаже много хора от книгата, но пък толкова по-добре, защото съм сигурна
Oct 04, 2007 Nathanial rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mar 05, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
i got the voice of this narrator in my head and i'm not sure i want her out of my head
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
Nov 20, 2014 ☕Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
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
Jun 19, 2015 Roberta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, americana
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
Jan 27, 2010 Jamie rated it it was ok
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
Nicko D
3,7 от 5. Малко не стигна за четворка. Автор със стил. Монолог на булевардна тема, но поднесен интересно, с усет. Книга на детайлите и чувствата. Замисли ме :( Бих я препрочел.
Feb 04, 2010 Karen rated it liked it
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.
Sep 29, 2015 Tosh rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 03, 2016 Jana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't care for this much - I probably skimmed the biggest part of it because it just felt like the author was just rambling. There was no real plot and barely even characters.
May 22, 2016 Krysten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
This hit hard.
Jun 21, 2013 Kelly rated it it was ok
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
Apr 05, 2016 Paddythemic rated it liked it
not constructed as a story, this is a literary diary of loosely jumbled recollections which nevertheless give a unified and definite picture of a lonely (and obsessed) woman painstakingly recounting her relationship with a younger man (aloof and one dimensional). this will not appeal to everyone and it's self-centeredness is sometimes maddening; i did persevere though inhabiting her skull for the duration of the read was sometimes claustrophobic. it is very much like an expansion of one of her s ...more
Jul 28, 2015 Andy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
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
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
Dec 10, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 21, 2011 Emilia rated it it was ok

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
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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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“How strange it is to realize now that although I was frightened of the emptiness between us, that emptiness was not his fault but mine: I was waiting to see what he would give me, how he would entertain me. And yet I was incapable of being profoundly interested in him or, maybe, in anyone. Just the reverse of what I thought at the time, when it seemed so simple: he was too callow, or too cautious, or just too young, not complex enough yet, and so he did not entertain me, and it was his fault.” 3 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. 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
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