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The End of the Story

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,479 Ratings  ·  212 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
Paperback, 231 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Picador (first published December 1st 1994)
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K.D. Absolutely
Jun 09, 2011 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
Feb 06, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing

That's really all I can say.
Apr 27, 2015 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
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 added it
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 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 gras
MJ Nicholls
Supreme break-up book
in stark self-aware prose trumps
all-night make-up sex.
Sep 13, 2012 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 heart which 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. Di
Apr 29, 2016 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
Christina Rau
Jan 03, 2012 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
Sep 04, 2011 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
Nov 09, 2012 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
Sep 04, 2007 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 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
Aug 25, 2011 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
Sep 16, 2015 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
Aug 15, 2014 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
Dec 11, 2011 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
Dec 06, 2009 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
Jan 20, 2010 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.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
This hit hard.
Jan 01, 2016 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 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lydia Davis. In novel form.
May 31, 2010 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
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.
Ricardo Gallego
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Que Lydia Davis tiene un estilo de escritura increíble es algo que no tardas en descubrir. Tanto que su prosa te engancha y cuando te das cuenta ya estás metido de lleno en la historia. En este caso en el final de la historia, en cómo necesitamos pasar por los procesos de ruptura y dolor para comprender que todo eso es pasajero y necesita de un final para crear nuevos comienzos.

La historia en sí en sencilla, muy común, y eso consigue que sea mucho más verosímil. Es el paso y la comprensión de có
Lee Foust
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A novel both tedious and brilliant, precise and vague, the one meta-fictional work I know where the meta is considerably more interesting than the story, a story which, because it's over before it begins, and because it's so like so many stories we've lived and watched others live, isn't really much of a story at all.

that's about all I have to say about it. --anyway, the novel itself (and particularly the blurbs on the paperback) say more about the book than we really need to hear. Yes, the narr
Lydia Davis' novel "The End of the Story" is an okay book, but not something that I would have ever read (or wanted to read) if it wasn't on the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die" list.

The novel tells the story of an unnamed narrator's obsession with an ex-lover as their relationship slowly crumbles and ends.

Davis has an interesting writing style but I found it didn't really carry the novel through here. I could see the very obvious connections with Proust's work, (and it's pretty ballsy I th
Pickle Farmer
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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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
More about Lydia Davis...

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“It is not easy to live with another person, at least it is not easy for me. It makes me realize how selfish I am. It has not been easy for me to love another person either, though I am getting better at it. I can be gentle for as long as a month at a time now, before I become selfish again. I used to try to study what it meant to love someone. I would write down quotations from the works of famous writers, writers who did not interest me otherwise, like Hippolyte Taine or Alfred de Musset. For instance, Taine said that to love is to make one’s goal the happiness of another person. I would try to apply this to my own situation. But if loving a person meant putting him before myself, how could I do that? There seemed to be three choices: to give up trying to love anyone, to stop being selfish, or to learn how to love a person while continuing to be selfish. I did not think I could manage the first two, but I thought I could learn how to be just unselfish enough to love someone at least part of the time.” 7 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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