Stephen's Reviews > The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
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Aug 13, 11

bookshelves: brit-lit, classics, mystery, victorian-lit
Read from July 11 to 20, 2011

You start reading this book, knowing it won't have an ending. Knowing you'll never know the answer to the mystery. Knowing it is incomplete. Because of this, I think it's only natural to begin reading with a bit of a guard up. Why become invested in the work if it's going to be unsatisfying? All of this is perfectly natural.

Of course, what's also perfectly natural, where Dickens is concerned at least, is getting quickly wrapped up in the plot, the characters, and the atmosphere and wanting to know what happens next. Even at the end of his reign, Dickens still knows how to weave a cast of characters together, subtly defining their personalities through their actions and conversations.

By the time you hit the last paragraph, that initial guard you set up has vanished. Whittled away by a master storyteller. What stands in its place is a desperate need to know what happened. This need, of course, is exactly why so many authors have taken up the task of trying to tack an ending on to the end of the incomplete manuscript. It screams for an ending. An answer. A resolution.

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