Christina Rau's Reviews > The End of the Story

The End of the Story by Lydia Davis
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Nov 13, 15

it was amazing
bookshelves: 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 was reading. It's fabulous because it's metafiction as well as seemingly-semi-autobiographical as well as fiction. Additionally, it's not in order. The time frame skips around, fast fowarding and then backtracking and then retelling the same part but with different information still from the same point of view. It works so well because the main goal, which is also the main conflict, is trying to find out exactly where a story ends, meaning how to finish a novel about a relationship, meaning how to find closure from a relationship.

I've read Davis before, so I'm used to her circular style that is sometimes confusing. I go along with it, gliding through each passage, trying to keep characters straight in my mind. When I first started reading this book in particular, I thought I'd read it before because the narrator talks about a poem she's received in the mail from an ex that she needs to translate into English, and the ex hasn't included anything else in the envelope. Then I realized that I hadn't read this book before, but I did read a snippet from Break It Down that has a similar concept. I think that she may have stolen from herself or took that short and turned it into something more. I followed the storyline and it moved away from the short story and developed and then regressed.

Then towards the end, it hit me. The aha moment. All her books have them. Finally, I got giddy and couldn't put the book down. Oh! This is where she was going with it! Of course!!!! I didn't say that out loud, but I thought it. Then again, I still had a fever so I could have yelled it out loud and not realized it. My aha moment wasn't for the book alone, but for all the relationships I've had, too. I figured them out all at once.

The point here is that reading The End Of The Story is exactly the kind of reading experience I expect to have when I read Lydia Davis's works. They leave me panting from a vigorous mental workout.
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