Waiting for the End: Gender and Ending in the Contemporary Novel


Waiting for the End: Gender and Ending in the Contemporary Novel



Waiting for the End examines two dozen contemporary novels as demonstrations of the continuing concern with the gender of ending in narrative. Traditional concepts of the role of ending came under question in the later twentieth century, as feminists began to argue that the structure of "rising action" and "climax" was patently masculinist. The effort to theorize alternatives to that structure was echoed by contemporary novelists, male as well as female, who sought to complicate conventional notions of ending. Often those complications of ending(s) have spoken to a growing awareness that ending in narrative is artificial and that plot structure and ending need to make gestures toward the reader's sense that while narrative may end, what narrative attempts to represent will always evade the artifice of fiction.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Madison [N.J.] : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, c2007.

286 p. ; 25 cm.


English Language and Literature




Located in Drake Library at: PR888.C587 I54 2007

CONTENTS: The beginning of the end -- Tales of the masculine narrative paradigm -- City of endings: Ian McEwan's Amsterdam -- The lure of the story: Kazuo Ishiguro's When we were orphans -- Writing like a boy: Stephen Millhauser's Edwin Mullhouse -- Writing "Like a man": Margaret Atwood's The blind assassin -- The metaphoricity ending: Colum McCann's This side of brightness -- Ending in a pickle: Salman Rushdie's Midnight's children -- A proliferation of endings: Graham Swift's Waterland -- The joke's on Freud: D.M. Thomas's The white hotel -- Undoing the Paradigm : perhaps -- The shell game of ending(s): John Fowles's The French lieutenant's woman -- "Double" ending by misunderstanding: Anthony Burgess's A clockwork orange -- Is there an ending in this text? David Lodge's Changing places -- The faked climax and the anticlimax in Joyce Carol Oates's Bellefleur -- Will the real author please stand up? Ian McEwan's Atonement -- Another question of ending: L.P. Hartley's The go-between -- An ending opening to the future: Margaret Atwood's The handmaid's tale -- Ending elsewhere: Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso sea -- Escaping the paradigm by ignoring it -- The great circle: Doris Lessing's The golden notebook -- Recurrent circles: Nawal El Saadawi's The fall of the Imam -- Is there a novel in this text? Julian Barnes's A history of the world in 10 1/2 chapters -- Can two novellas make a novel? A.S. Byatt's Angels & insects -- Beginning again--and again: Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler -- Troubling linearity: Manlio Argueta's Cuzcatlán -- The ending is in the beginning: Jeanette Winterson's Written on the body.

Earl G. Ingersoll is distinguished professor emeritus of English at SUNY College at Brockport. He has written, edited, and coedited many books.

Waiting for the End: Gender and Ending in the Contemporary Novel