Study Guide

The Art of Racing in the Rain What's Up With the Ending?

By Garth Stein

What's Up With the Ending?

Enzo dies.

Womp womp.

Yeah, we all knew it was coming, but it still made us bawl like the scene in The Lion King when Mufasa dies. Animal deaths are sad: it's a truth universally acknowledged. So when Enzo finally leaves Denny's side, we don't know what to expect. But there's an epilogue, so surely something else has to happen, right?

The final chapter takes place from Denny's perspective, since Enzo can't narrate anymore. (Don't remind us.) Denny and Zoë are in Italy, having a grand old time, because Denny is the new Formula One champion—a feat practically unheard of for a man his age.

Then Denny meets a father and a little boy who, surprise, just happens to be named Enzo.

We see what you're doing, book, and we're on to you.

We also know the question on everyone's mind: is this new Enzo the real Enzo? Did our Enzo achieve the coveted personhood he was waiting for? It's never explicitly stated one way or the other, but Denny seems to recognize something in the boy and even tells his father, "'Mi scuzi…Your son reminds me of a good friend of mine'" (Conclusion, 31).

Then little human Enzo trots out the one thing that makes us start bawling again. He looks at Denny and tells him, in Italian, "The car goes where the eyes go" (Conclusion, 39).

That's it. That's all the proof we need. Now excuse us while we empty this box of tissues.