Huffpost UK Culture uk
Sam Parker Headshot

Open Thread: Which Novel's Ending Would You Change?

Posted: Updated:

MULTIPLE SPOILERS ALERT!

This week the literary world was bemused to learn that a forthcoming ebook will offer readers the chance to decide how its story should end.

Caroline Smailes’s 99 Reasons Why will put readers through a series of multiple choice questions to assess their mood before picking the ‘correct’ conclusion from 11 possible finales.

This got us thinking - firstly, that the idea really isn't all that different from the Choose Your Own Adventure books we read as kids – but mainly: which books would we change the ending to if we could?

A quick office poll came up with some interesting suggestions.

Entertainment Assistant Sarah would take her axe to One Day by David Nicholls. “Sometimes you just crave a happy ending,” she says. “Instead, Nicholls made a brazen play for the higher-brow and broke ours and Dex’s hearts by killing off Emma. Obviously it gave us the lesson "don't take things for granted, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow" (or a truck in her case) but he should have given the readers what they craved and let her live.”

Don Delillo's White Noise was the novel Blogs Assistant Alice said she'd hack apart, complaining: “After creating so much tension and raising so many issues so cleverly for 300 pages, it just fizzled out. Call me morbid but I think Jack could have been killed off."

Personally, I’d simply rip out the entire, smarter-than-thou finale to Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Some people thought the end, in which it transpires that the preceding novel was actually a fiction within a fiction written by one of the principle characters, was brilliantly post-modern but to me it just felt like the equivalent of reading ‘...and then Robbie and Cecilia woke up, and it was all just a dream!’.

If you had the power to rewrite any novel from history, what would you do?

Leave your suggestions in the comments below and we’ll publish the best ones up in a gallery next week...