Friday, December 04, 2020

Five top open-ended novels

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. She is the author of three Cat Kinsella novels: Sweet Little Lies, Stone Cold Heart, and Shed No Tears.

[The Page 69 Test: Sweet Little Lies; The Page 69 Test: Stone Cold Heart.]

At CrimeReads, Frear tagged five of her favorite novels with ambiguous endings, including:
In The Woods, Tana French

Oh, the arguments I’ve had over this ending! No list would be complete without Tana French’s sublime debut, focusing on the woodland murder of twelve-year-old Katy Devlin and the efforts of Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox to bring her killer to justice. Of course, in the great procedural tradition, Rob has his own demons. Twenty-two years ago, an adolescent Rob went into those same woods with two friends who subsequently vanished, never to be seen again. Could the cases be linked? Does Rob know more than he’s letting on?

While it’s important to note that the central mystery is solved here, the beautifully hazy ending—the final punch, if you like—has been described as both ‘near poetry’ and ‘infuriating beyond words.’ In truth, both descriptions are completely valid.

Or at least that’s my opinion. You may well form a different one. And that’s the beauty of the ambiguous ending. There is no right or wrong.
Read about another entry on the list.

In the Woods is among Gabriel Bergmoser's top ten horror novels, Kate White's favorite thrillers with a main character who can’t remember what matters most, Kathleen Donohoe's ten top titles about missing persons, Jessica Knoll's ten top thrillers, Tara Sonin's twenty-five unhappy books for Valentine’s Day, Krysten Ritter's six favorite mysteries, Megan Reynolds's top ten books you must read if you loved Gone Girl, Emma Straub's ten top books that mimic the feeling of a summer vacation, the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books from Ireland's newer voices, and Judy Berman's ten fantastic novels with disappointing endings.

The Page 69 Test: In the Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue