It’s our last week to discuss A Game of Hide and Seek, officially, but if you’re late to the party, and are still reading — even if quite some time has passed — please, feel free to comment.
But for those of us who have read the novel through already, and have already chatted about all the other bits, there’s one aspect of the novel that we’ve all faithfully steered clear of — so far, happy to avoid *SPOILERS* for those who were still reading — that I think we’re all itching to discuss.
If you have not finished reading, and like to discover books at your own pace, relatively unaware of what lies therein, save this post until later. But this is one novel whose ENDING begs to be discussed.
(Did I mention there are *SPOILERS* below? I’m spoiler-phobic. Once I mistakenly read a discussion about Vikram Seth’s million-page novel A Suitable Boy, when I was on page 500, and someone spilled who the suitable boy is: I’m still on page 500, and I haven’t yet forgotten which character it is.)
But. The Ending. Oh, wait! I just thought of another kind of spoiler.
For those of us who have read Nicola Beauman’s The Other Elizabeth Taylor, it might be tempting to spill out details about her personal life that we’ve learned from reading that biography, so if you’re feeling so inclined, please mark your comment with a spoiler alert as well, as readers will expect spoilers for the novel but not the biography. [If you don't add an alert, I will try to catch it in an edit.]
So. Here it is. The Ending.
“He heard a car slow and stop outside the house. A door was slammed. The footsteps across the pavement were light and quick. He raised himself and slid his feet down to the floor. The sound of the door-knocker seemed to be banging in his own heart. ‘She is coming,’ he thought, and he looked up through a shifting mist and saw her face. She put her bunch of flowers down on a chair and said his name and took him in her arms.”
What do you think?
If you were a fly on the wall, or a wasp (as Elizabeth Taylor seems more fond of including them in her fiction), what do you think that you would have seen in this scene?
Who is really in the car? What is their true intent?
Does your opinion rest in the text? Or in imagination? Or personal preference? Or a combination of the two? Or are you basing it on other works by/about Elizabeth Taylor?
If I remember correctly from Nicola Beauman’s biography, American readers were not appreciative of the ending. Do you wish there was more of a ribbon tied on things? Do you feel it weighs more on the side of a “cheat” rather than a resolution? Or are you happy to imagine your own next paragraph?
In other conversations, some of you have mentioned that you think the ending is perfect. Can you think of any other endings which left you with the same sense of satisfaction? In Elizabeth Taylor’s works or otherwise?
Are you usually pleased with this kind of ending, or is there something about her particular way of approaching it that left you unexpectedly satisfied? If you could have a sequel (magically), would you want to read it?