Sunday, January 13, 2013



I just read a short story by W. Somerset Maugham, “Mackintosh.” It’s absorbing, but the ending is something of a cop-out. It’s the same ending of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “May Day,” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger. The protagonist puts a bullet through his head.

When you’re a young reader this ending is impressive. When you’re older you ask yourself if the writer didn’t know how to end the story, and so resorted to desperate measures. Trickery.

The real question: Are all good tales, even the great ones, in some way trickery?

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