Great Novels with Bad Endings

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How many love affairs have you had with novels that ended abruptly, poorly, without cause or the “proper” resolution?

You finish the last word, your arms hang limp, the novel collapses into your lap, and you mutter: seriously?

In Joan Acocella’s New Yorker article “On Bad Endings,” Acocella explores some classic novels that left us feeling cheated, and why writing a “great” ending is so difficult and rare.


Pat Johnson is currently working on his master’s in Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University, and is the owner and editor of the satirical news website The New Porker. When Pat’s not reading or writing he’s likely squeezing a lime into a Tecate and headed to the dance floor. He also creates short films, documentaries, and sketch comedies. Pat is completing his first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, and writing a book of Creative Non-Fiction short stories. More from this author →