February 19, 2009

Best Ends


There was a bit of drama at my job yesterday where they up and laid off a majority of the overnight workers. So now I get the added pleasure of worrying about the stability of the job I don't like. God, the fun wagon doesn't stop does it.

That whole incident, plus reading the phenomenal "A Father's Story" for the first time, got me thinking about story endings.

I found the ending of "A Father's Story" to be one of the best ones I've read. After I finished it, I said "Wow" aloud, nevermind that I probably got a weird look from the other people in my job's breakroom. It was just perfect and rousing and beautiful. Everything you want an ending to be in my mind. My other favorite story endings are Robert Stone's "Helping" and Tony Earley's "The Prophet from Jupiter" Michael Cunningham's "White Angel" and quite possibly the best way to end a story they is Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain." (Oh, and an honorable mention to Barry Hannah's "Do You Have a Cig, The Time, My Face?" for shooting children with a BB gun, if I'm remembering the ending correctly).

These are just the ones off the top of my head so I know I'm missing something big, but for you, what are the story endings that leap out in your mind as the best? And, for bonus points, what makes them the best for you?

viva el mustache


Luke said...

I like the ending of "Pet Milk." It's very visual. At first, you feel like you are having sex on the El train, and then you morph into the high school kid watching them float past. Crazy. I like how "Hunters in the Snow" by Tobias Wolff ends, but I don't feel like it's wonderfully written, I just feel it ends in the exact way that I want it to... same with "Strays" and "The Birds for Christmas" by Mark Richard.

I also like the end of "The Dead" by James Joyce. That might be one of the best things ever written. Friggin show-off.

Emily said...

"Hills Like White Elephants" by Hemingway is good throughout, so yeah, good ending.

DeWolf said...

I love the ending to both "The Dead" and "Helping." I think my favorite ending might be Mark Richard's "This is Us, Excellent."

Diana said...

The ending to "A Father's Story" takes my breath away every time. I also love the ending to "Rock Springs" and "Bullet in the Brain."

The Mighty Flynn said...

The two stories I'm studying for comps have excellent endings: "The Scheme of Things" by Charles D'Ambrosio and "Barred Owl" by Chris Offutt. The "Scheme" ending is funny and tragic and perfect. The "Barred Owl" ending is sad and surprising and haunting.

I agree that "The Dead" is probably the best ending ever written. I also love the end of "A Good Man is Hard to Find," "Bullet in the Brain," and "Pet Milk."

Philly Baby said...

O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find": 'Would have been a good woman if there had been someone to shoot her every minute of her life" (paraphrase, and a poor one at that)

That ending made me want to write. I know how trite that sounds, but it's true.