I am both annoyed and excited when an author leaves the conclusion of the story to the reader i.e., me..
Being annoyed is an obvious reaction. The act of going through an entire book (no matter what the length) and not being rewarded with a closure leaves me with an incomplete sort of feeling. On the other hand, it is exciting in a way also because the author has provided me the privilege to steer the story any which way (in my mind) and bring it to an end. And I exercised this right when I finished reading ‘Juliet, Naked’ by Nick Hornby.
I stumbled upon Hornby’s books in the amazing book store tucked in the basement of Hot Spot (yes, the ice cream parlour!) and what caught my eyes (besides the blurb) were the covers. Yes, I must admit (and quite sheepishly) that it was the cover of his books which caught my attention, first, and made me note down the titles in my diary. To cut a long story short; I Googled him, discovered what an interesting writer he was and at the first opportunity bought his book.
To say the book was a great read would be an understatement. It was a terrific read but I might not have harboured such emotions had I not been reading H. G. Wells simultaneously. But to say it wasn’t a good, fun book would be doing it a great injustice.
The book revolved around Tucker Crowe, a famous rock band artist who suddenly pulls a disappearing act from the music scene, leaving his fans in shock and wonder. Some of these fans make it their life’s mission to keep his memory alive and after 20 years from the day he disappeared they still talk, write and think about him. One such fan is Duncan, who seems like a living encyclopaedia on Crowe. The book opens on his trip to America with his girlfriend, Annie, which the couple took to learn more about the mystery behind Crowe’s sudden disappearance. (Duncan took it for Crowe and Annie just wanted a nice vacation).
The book is mostly about Crowe and his impact on people’s life; both family and otherwise. His personal life is screwed (and so is his professional life) and somehow, he manages to (totally unintentionally on his part) screw the lives of Duncan and Annie. Or does he?
During the course of the book Duncan and Annie split and part ways. Annie ends up writing and finally meeting Tucker and his son (quite the Bollywood twist!) among other things. Not only that, she introduces Duncan to him also and thus the latter’s life dream is fulfilled. And then the author leaves the end to me. Does Annie patch up with Duncan (as Tucker had advised?) or does she leave her sleepy town, Gooleness (what a name!) and flies to America and Tucker Crowe? Does Tucker treat her in a similar way as he treated the other women (impregnate, baby sit, and then leave) or does he turn over a new leaf and decide to stick to Annie as a support for his old age (he’s fifty plus when he meets her and has suffered a heart attack)?