I finished The Eyre Affair on my way home from work. Thursday changes the ending to Jane Eyre by calling to Jane in Rochester's voice and thus leading Jane to return to the now burned down Thornfield and finish the narrative the way it is know in our world. In an excerpt from Thursday's diaries she mentions that changing the ending of Jane Eyre violates "[her] training...[and] everything that [she] had sworn to uphold" but that she "acted out of compassion, not duty, and sometimes that is no bad thing." (351) Obviously this works for the story. Throughout the novel various characters talk about what a let down the "real" ending to Jane Eyre is so having Thursday change the ending is natural and it leads to some nice symmetry when Thursday's own ending is saved by a similar deus ex machina. I wondered, are there stories I would want to change?
The first thing that comes to mind are Shakespeare's tragedies. I think one of the many things that make Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet and Othello so great is that even though I know from the beginning how the story will turn out, I always kind of hope something will happen to engineer a happy ending. But if that were to happen, it wouldn't be the powerful story it is and I wouldn't enjoy it. Same thing with Lamb by Christopher Moore. You go into that book knowing how it's going to end, yet by the time I get to the ending I keep hoping things will turn out differently. But I suppose my emotion at reading one of these tragedies is different than the dissatisfaction everyone felt for the "original" Jane Eyre ending. I'm at a bit of a loss as to finding a book I enjoyed all of except for the ending. I can think of books I would change, but it would mostly be to make the story itself not exist. I can't say I'd be too upset if someone were to jump into American Psycho and kill off Bateman in the first couple chapters.
Are there any books you would change if you could?
I was thinking I should review The Eyre Affair, but there seem to be plenty of places to find reviews so instead I'll just say I love this book and would recommend it to anyone I think will enjoy the literary humor. If you want to read an actual review CurledUp.com and The New York Times both have reviews I find helpful.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin Group, New York. 2001