I just finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland and Alexander Pushkin’s Dubrovsky and found similar thing between the two: that sometimes things don’t get better. Both stories told about a struggle in its characters and until the end it didn’t let go. I’ve read something similar in Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Readers protested about the non-happy ending, non-”it’s get better” motto, which seems like all American dreams or whatever. They said that it’s not a good conclusion to read, that it could affect readers’ mental health, etc, etc.
While I do agree that reading fictions could generally inverted some ideas into people’s head, I don’t think that’s mean happy ending is a must in a story. Giving positive light, yes, but then, what will we do when the fact is, not everything gets better?
Because there are things in this world that don’t get better.
Reading Pushkin, Lahiri and Yanagihara make me realizes that it takes a certain degree of courage to write about things that don’t get better. Some readers–most of it?–won’t like it. Moreover if it’s an unresoluted one. But still, they write and deliver their message beautifully
Because some things don’t get better. Some things stuck, or getting worse. Some things cannot have an answer. And that is life.
It makes me so envious.