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Old 07-07-2003, 04:59 AM
bifar bifar is offline
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Best plot twists/surprise endings in literature (spoilers, probably)

We’ve done this for in films but have we done books? Anyway I can think of a couple of oldy-but-goodies…

Jane Eyre, in which

Mr Rochester turns out to have a wife! Okay, it’s a bit cheesy, but shocking if you don’t know it.

And Great Expectations…

All the time Pip thinks his money is coming from the loony-but-noble Miss Haversham, when all the time he’s thriving off the dirty, greasy money of the convict Magwitch. Completely changes our view of Pip’s expectations.

And my favourite Harry Potter twist in Philosopher’s Stone, in which

Well duh. Snape isn’t the baddie, Quirrell is. And Voldemort’s been living in the back of his head all term. This revelation turns the HP series into a jolly, slightly clichéd children’s adventure story to something a lot darker, scarier and unexpected.

Any others?
Old 07-07-2003, 07:01 AM
refusal refusal is offline
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What about the end of Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 where

Nothing happens. The secrets the hero has been pursuing are never revealed. Very postmodern.
Old 07-07-2003, 07:14 AM
PaperBlob PaperBlob is offline
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How about Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, where:

The narrator of the story turns out to be the murderer.
Old 07-07-2003, 07:23 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes

No mention of the Statue of Liberty, but after reading the account, we discover that it has been discovered by apes
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
Old 07-07-2003, 07:32 AM
Wolfian Wolfian is offline
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Ruroni Kenshin. I'm not very good with names, but:

The hero's friend is walking through the woods when he meets a fallen monk. To make a long story short the monk teaches the hero's friend a special attack. Grateful, the hero's friend goes walking off to continue his adventure. End of episode, right? No, after the friend walks away an established bad guy comes up to the monk and tells him to come with him because the villian of the series needs the monk's help again. The monk does showing that this guy we thought was bitter, but a good guy is really bitter and a bad guy.

But, later:
The monk redeems himself.

My jaw was on the ground for five good minutes after that one.
Straight out of London: lunatike freke namede Geoff C,
From the covin callede “Kynges Affinitee.”
Men who confronte me, my dagger beth killynge them
Hange them on a hempe-rope lyk ther name was Tresilian-
Old 07-07-2003, 10:59 AM
Winston Bongo Winston Bongo is offline
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Hannibal Lecter's escape in Silence of the Lambs. Even though Thomas Harris gives you all the information you need to figure out what Lecter's up to, you still don't realize how he pulled it off until:
The cops realize the dead body in the elevator shaft isn't Hannibal after all!

At that point you're thinking, "Holy crap!" because you now know how Lecter escaped while the cops are still scratching their heads.

Hard to believe Thomas Harris used to be a good writer.
Old 07-07-2003, 12:10 PM
CrankyAsAnOldMan CrankyAsAnOldMan is offline
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I'm a sucker for many of Jane Austen's happy endings, where you think the handsome swain's heart is engaged by another but in the end, he confesses his love for the heroine. *sigh*.

But I especially loved the twist in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, when...

oh damn, I don't know how to do spoilers. *grumbles* well, never mind. It involves seeing something on someone's arm. I nearly dropped the book.
Old 07-07-2003, 12:42 PM
TwungTister TwungTister is offline
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No More Magic by Avi. A children's book in which the plot doth twist like unto pretzel.

The bicycle wasn't stolen! All the magical evidence was imagined. The costume had exchanged hands more often than the kids knew.
Old 07-07-2003, 12:57 PM
InquisitiveIdiot InquisitiveIdiot is offline
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The short story the lady or the tiger? You need to get the complete edition, but the ending is great.
Here's a hint:
Old 07-07-2003, 03:34 PM
maddiesilver maddiesilver is offline
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I have always adored the surprise finale of Melville's novella "Benito Cereno." I don't have the heart to spoil it....the whole complex story works by foregrounding the extent to which a "benevolent" white narrator (and by extention a white 19th century reader) can systematically misread a situation through deeply ingrained racial prejudice.

At the exact moment in which the narrator is hit over the head with the realization of what is really going on, the reader finally "gets it"!
That moment is amazing!
The whole story is evocative, Gothic, fascinating and beautifully, ironically written....
"Enjoy your Symptom!"
Old 07-07-2003, 08:56 PM
chique chique is offline
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Originally posted by InquisitiveIdiot
The short story the lady or the tiger? You need to get the complete edition, but the ending is great.
Here's a hint:
Old 07-07-2003, 09:19 PM
Wolfian Wolfian is offline
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Oh, wow. Literature. I thought it was just any surprises. Don't mind me.
Old 07-08-2003, 06:10 AM
bifar bifar is offline
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Location: Scarlet Town
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I meant any kind of stuff, not just proper literature. We’ve done films before, though.

Another one I love, (SAKI again)

The Open Window. A man with a nervous complaint visits a stranger’s house and gets talking to a precocious young girl about a dreadful tragedy that happened a while ago, in which the lady of the house’s husband and brother died while out hunting. Their voices can still be heard, sometimes, late in the evening, the young girl whispers. Suddenly she and the man hear the same voices. The man rushes out of the room, never to return, while the husband and brother enter the room, apparently unscathed. It turns out that the young girl made up the whole story just to freak out the visitor.
Old 07-08-2003, 08:42 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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Well, there are several O. Henry stories that fit into this category.

(I know, I know - shocker.)

The classic O. Henry, in my view, has always been The Gift of the Magi, in which Jim's gold watch and Della's hair are the prized possessions of the couple, and
Jim sells his watch to get the money to buy Della a set of beautiful combs for Christmas, while at the same time Della sells her hair to a wigmaker to buy a beautiful fob for Jim's watch.

- Rick


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