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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly abstract
This is an astonishing novel. I have more or less given up writing reviews for Amazon, because (as Nicholson Baker points out) they don't seem to add to anything or create any kind of community, they just sink into the general accumulation of texts. (He was comparing Amazon with Wikipedia, where everyone's writing adds to something large.)

But I'm back again,...
Published on October 16, 2008 by James Elkins

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, slightly off on the delivery
Lydia Davis introduces an intriguing and unique concept in this story that makes you think a little bit differently while reading other novels afterward. The concept of this novel, whereby the narrator plays back an experience of love with the context of knowledge and emotions after the fact, makes you wonder how differently you would feel during past experiences, had you...
Published on May 30, 2006 by M. Jason Schmitt


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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly abstract, October 16, 2008
By 
James Elkins (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
This is an astonishing novel. I have more or less given up writing reviews for Amazon, because (as Nicholson Baker points out) they don't seem to add to anything or create any kind of community, they just sink into the general accumulation of texts. (He was comparing Amazon with Wikipedia, where everyone's writing adds to something large.)

But I'm back again, writing for Amazon, because I think this novel needs to be remembered, and bought. There is a five-star review here that notes it's necessary to read the novel more than once. I think that is true, if you are expecting any sort of ordinary narrative. Davis has that rarest of all qualities: an original voice. She speaks plainly, in a minimalist style, and that is fairly conventional. But the use the makes of the minimalist voice (which I find myself mimicking in this review, inadvertently) is not at all usual. This is life with all its content subtracted away. The novel is about a love affair, but we are scarcely told anything about what either person looks like. We hear, in passing, that the narrator likes to identify species of grass and spiders, but we do not hear any names of grasses or spiders. She falls in love with a man, but we have no idea what kind of person he is. They are both attached to a university, but we hear next to nothing about what they study or teach. She is a translator of French, but there is no French in the book. (That is especially astonishing: think of other Francophiles, like Wallace Stevens.) Nothing has content, everything is told as her recollections of actions and places.

In this contentless, abstract world the writer's voice is all we have. We listen as she wonders whether her memories are correct, and admits that some art not. We hear her descriptions of her behavior, always written as if she were at some remove from them. When she is suffering most acutely from the absence of the man she fell in love with, we hear that she seems to see herself from a distance. That is the book's strangest moment. We have always seen her from a distance. What kind of narrator could construct a novel so impeccably abstracted from the proper names and the direct emotions of life, and then say that, in her memory, she was only abstracted in that way during a short period of grief?

The psychology of the book is absolutely without parallel. It is deeply sympathetic, sad, detached, and also, at the same time, entirely perverse and because of that perversity incomprehensible. The book is, in its own way, a masterpiece.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book, May 7, 2001
By 
Naomi Himmelhoch (Northern California) - See all my reviews
Lydia Davis has written a breath-taking book about how writing transforms both a writer and her subject. A wonderfully written study of how the process of creating a written record about her unlikely obsession with a younger man eventually freed her from it. I recommend this book to everyone I meet.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, slightly off on the delivery, May 30, 2006
By 
This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
Lydia Davis introduces an intriguing and unique concept in this story that makes you think a little bit differently while reading other novels afterward. The concept of this novel, whereby the narrator plays back an experience of love with the context of knowledge and emotions after the fact, makes you wonder how differently you would feel during past experiences, had you known what you know now. While this concept has really stuck with me for many months after reading the book, I found the story itself and depth of characters a little light and forgettable.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for Writers, October 2, 1999
This book has an inflectionless prose style, that takes a little patience at first, but after awhile begins to produce a hypnotic effect. By the end of the book I was in love with the prose style. Also, the parts about the writing of the novel, which are included within the novel itself, are hilarious.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a great novel, June 26, 2008
By 
This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
I started reading "The End Of The Story" as I read any other novel, but soon realized it needs... and deserves... more attention. And so when I finished the book, I went back and read the beginning again, to capture what I had missed.

Really, "The End Of The Story" is more than a novel, it is a glimpse inside an intelligent and complex person. An obsessed person, yes, but who among us has not been obsessed at one time or another?

It is one of the best books I've ever read.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, July 5, 1999
By A Customer
I love lydia davis. I love her surgical deconstruction of relationships, obsession and, for that matter, any and all matters of the heart. More people should buy this book and even if they don't lydia davis remains a god to us her loyal fans.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem., January 26, 2010
By 
M. Hobbs (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
I had to read this for a class on the modern novel, and it was by far the best thing I've been made to read in my undergraduate career. Davis' writing is crisp, clear, and poetic, and her themes are universal. It;s a beautiful little book about love and loss, and you definitely need to be in the right frame of mind. Since that class sophomore year of undergrad, I've read it five or six times.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very different, July 11, 2014
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This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
Kind of the anti-novel. Interesting in that nothing happens and the people are not dramatized.
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4.0 out of 5 stars compelling and compulsive, May 11, 2014
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I read this book feverishly, almost as it felt it had been written. Many of the incidents had been in Davis' short stories which I love and feel very similar to my own experience. The sense of meaningless ecstasy, embarrassing pain, and self aware recovery were all perfectly described. I was interested in her reflections on writing and memory, work, and friendships. My only reservation was that it seemed a bit too literary at times, but this is hardly a fair criticism of a book about writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, November 21, 2013
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This review is from: The End of the Story: A Novel (Paperback)
The style is somewhat like the 'Unconsoled' - stream of consciousness - it was very interesting reading and is actually a page turner.
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The End of the Story: A Novel
The End of the Story: A Novel by Lydia Davis (Paperback - July 1, 2004)
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