Waiting for the End examines two dozen contemporary vels as demonstrations of the continuing concern with the gender of ending in narrative. Traditional concepts of the role of ending came under question in the later twentieth century, as feminists began to argue that the structure of rising action and climax was patently masculinist. The effort to theorize alternatives to that structure was echoed by contemporary velists, male as well as female, who sought to complicate conventional tions of ending. Often those complications of ending(s) have spoken to a growing awareness that ending in narrative is artificial and that plot structure and ending need to make gestures toward the reader's sense that while narrative may end, what narrative attempts to represent will always evade the artifice of fiction.
Earl G. Ingersoll is distinguished professor and distinguished teaching professor of English at the State University of New York, College of Brockport.