Reviews

The End of the Story, by Lydia Davis

atsen's review against another edition

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medium-paced

1.0

maycho's review against another edition

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3.0

"It had to be written carefully, because only if I wrote it carefully could I deliver over my pain into it."


I have mixed feelings about this one.

Often times, anguish can be a terrible, ugly thing. In this book, you get too see toxicity in yourself (and/or your relationship) being made tangible in the form of Davis's words. On one hand, I really enjoyed this obsessive, heartbroken narrative. It's relateable to some degree for a lot of people. On the other, I found it pitiful and annoying. The narrator comes of whiny and entitled at times.

I did really enjoy the narrator's arc in the end though as well as the writing style.

First time reading a Lydia Davis book and I think I should've read her short story collection, which she is more known for, first. Oh well.

read_to_read's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

gianni_francis's review against another edition

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4.0

My favorite part about Davis's 'break-up' novel is the emotional objectivism of the narrator. She states that arguments happen, things were said, consequences resulted, but never what the arguments were regarding, what precisely was said. In terms of a relationship, "consequences" of tactlessness takes time to fester anyway; all the potential readers needs to know is that they break-up. (This is revealed within the first chapter, no spoilers.)

Objectively reporting subjective memories, Davis skips the boring 'he said, she said' although the truthfulness of what happened is very important to her, as is relaying it accurately. Accuracy and thoughtful entertainment. For that reason the novel partially becomes about itself, and it is unclear (in a good way) how much of this novel is fictional.

Our narrator commits some insane 'break up' acts, like following her ex's white car only to realize its not him, entertaining the idea of him living in her garage etc. She is very funny, thoughtful, and becomes crazy when her pride is damaged by this much younger ex, like any normal person would.

phoesmi's review against another edition

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emotional reflective

4.75

margaret_adams's review against another edition

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This is a book about a love affair that has ended, but it’s also a book about a narrator writing a novel about her own life, and it’s also a book about the incredible slipperiness of memory and perceived experience. It has no chapters and no dialogue, and that lack of clear delineations fits with the surprisingly lucid fluidity of the material. I’m pretty sure it’s straight fiction but I didn’t really care if it was or wasn’t.

I liked this. Odds were against it working. But I thought it did.

Quotes:

“A friend of mine once told me about a love affair he had had. [...] My friend told me he could not stop writing down certain things about it. He could not speak to her because she would not listen to him, so he wrote things about it that other people would read, so that she might read it, too, and be not only affected by it but more affected because it was public. If she was not, he would at least have the satisfaction of telling it all out loud, and also of turning that love affair, which had not lasted as long as he had wanted it to, into something that would last longer.”

“A part of me had grown into him at the same time that a part of him had grown into me. That part of me was still in him now. I looked at him and saw not only him but myself as well, and saw that that part of myself was lost. Not only that, but I saw that myself in his eyes, as he regarded me, as he loved me, was lost, too. I did not know what to do with the part of him that had grown into me.”

“By writing about him, I thought, I was taking him away from himself and doing him harm, even though he might never know it. This troubled me, not because I was doing him harm, but because I did not mind doing it.”

ulkdanfo32's review against another edition

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Quite moving to me. One of the harder things I've had to read lately. I'd say this is one of the more profound things ever written about breakups.

dhaydon95's review against another edition

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emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

dianustita's review against another edition

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1.0

get over yourself

zibby's review against another edition

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4.0

'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 read.