Today I have the wonderful M.P. Kozlowsky, author of The Dyerville Tales to discuss why he chose to end the book the way he did.
About That Ending
When writing the conclusion to The Dyerville Tales, I knew there was a chance of alienating a part of my audience – but, then again, don’t all endings usually divide readerships in some way or other? It is impossible to please everyone and a writer must always keep this in mind. To attempt to satisfy every reader would result in a terrible mess of an ending, something condescending and pat, something no reader deserves but very often receives. What is necessary, however, is what is right for the story.
Without giving too much away, The Dyerville Tales ends somewhat ambiguously. Unfortunately, many people tend to find this either confusing or unacceptable. But I must argue against such reactions – they are simply products of poor analysis (disliking it is one thing, lazy reading is another).
Ambiguity is one of the best tools an author can use and is essential to art of all kinds. A reader shouldn’t be told what to think; a reader shouldn’t have the lines connecting every dot drawn for them – such a display should infuriate everyone involved. And, yes, as much as readers may hate to hear this, there should be some work involved – pure escapism is a place holder for our brains, a numbing device and narcotic. By leaving parts of a book ambiguous, the audience is forced to think – not what we call thinking, which is really nothing but opinions, observations, and emotions (I think it’s going to be warm today; I think it’ll be a good movie; I think that book will bore me). Ambiguity chases a reader’s mind, challenging them to reassess everything they previously experienced, allowing for connections they might have missed and sparking complex thought to reach a conclusion that is not handed to them wrapped neatly in that proverbial bow. Ambiguity brings the book – or film or music or painting, sculpture, structure – to life.
Such a technique, however, is tricky and frightening for almost all parties, but the rewards, I believe, are overwhelmingly positive. Complex thought brought upon by art teaches us something about ourselves – it is my opinion that the ending of The Dyerville Tales will reveal more about the reader than it ever will about me or the characters involved. By understanding the way we think, the way we react to something after analyzing it from all angles, we grow as human beings.
Yes, I’m aware how all this may sound. I bring it up only in defense of my choices as an author. I refuse to drag readers – especially children – along a well trodden route of comfort and security. I believe in challenging them, in helping to rouse the slumbering beasts inside them previously beaten back by a life of too many screens and shining objects. If I am able to help one child think about a book in a different and new way, perhaps that boy or girl’s world will suddenly open to newer possibilities. It doesn’t have to be just literature or the arts. It can be everything. Life itself is ambiguous and we need to start seeing it that way. Just as Vince did.
M. P. Kozlowsky is also the author of Juniper Berry. A former schoolteacher, he lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at mpkozlowsky.com
Thanks to Walden Pond Press, we have a signed hard copy of The Dyerville Tales to giveaway to one winner!
Open to US only.
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Check out the other stops on the Dyerville Tales Blog Tour
4/28 – Word Spelunking Book Blog
4/29 – Book Smugglers
4/29 – KidLit Frenzy
4/30 – Mundie Kids
5/1 – Bunbury In the Stacks
5/3 – The Book Rat
5/5 – Mundie Kids
5/6 – Bluestocking Thinking
5/7 – Small Review
5/7 – Paige in Training
5/8 – Novel Novice
5/9 – Buried in Books
5/10 – The Book Monsters
5/13 – The Flashlight Reader
5/14 – The Hiding Spot