Here is this week’s Booking Through Thursday:
The question is in two parts.
1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?
Yes, I do like complicated plots and unexpected endings. Some of the best novels I’ve recently read — The Time Traveler’s Wife, for instance — have complicated plots and unexpected endings. Henry DeTamble and Claire Abshire’s life is complicated by Henry’s genetic disorder — time travel — ; the novel’s plot centers on that disorder and how the couple’s love affair evolves because of it.
At the same time there are some books such as Jim Harrison’s The English Major that are loosely plotted but wonderful reads; its plot is the journey of dumped 60-something farmer Cliff who takes a journey across America. You get absorbed in the journey, in the language, in the character, in the humor. The journey with the character is Zen-like: there is no goal but the path.
2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?
I haven’t read Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter in a long time, but its surprise ending is a favorite. I love how Banks handles this novel about a lawyer who tries to get grieving parents to sue for damages after their children are killed in a school bus accident. The plot is complicated, told from multiple points of view. But again, the characters and language are as interesting as the complex plot.