Study Guide

You Should Have Known What's Up With the Ending?

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

What's Up With the Ending?

In the final scene, Grace is packing up the old apartment, making her relocation to the lakehouse permanent. While the prospect of leaving the only home you've ever known because your husband is an international fugitive who murdered his mistress may seem stressful, Grace is strangely Zen about it—the enormity of the task at hand keeps her too busy to be sad.

She attempts to resell her beloved Birkin bag because it was a gift from her husband, only to find out it's a fake. Then Detective O'Rourke stops by to tell her they've located Jonathan—not in the Yukon as she expected from Jonathan's letter, but in Brazil. They chit-chat for a minute and then Detective O'Rourke leaves. Grace listens to the elevator lowering him down into the lobby and releasing him onto "the street where she used to live." Roll credits.

So, a few things: The events of the book take place between Dec. 5 (the committee meeting) and March (this packing-up scene). Considering the absolute hell she's been through, it may feel slightly unrealistic for Grace to be so well-adjusted already. After being married for nearly two decades and then blindsided by the realization that her husband is an actual psychopathic murderer, she's even found a new potential love interest in fiddler-next-door Leo.

Is this ending a trite way to wrap up such a messy story? Possibly. There are plenty of unanswered questions about Malaga and unexplained lies from Jonathan that Hanff Korelitz doesn't address. However, while the murder certainly jump-started the action in this story, it's important to remember that this story isn't about Malaga or Jonathan—it's about Grace.

Most people won't ever have to contend with questions as big as the ones on Grace's mind, but sometimes you just don't get all the answers. By ending the book in a seemingly unfinished way, Hanff Korelitz reminds readers that Grace's life is not finished yet either.