I’ve been sent a fair number of e-mails over the years begging me to write a sequel to How I Live Now.
What happens to Daisy and Edmond? Do they end up living happily ever after? Do they have kids? How many? And what about Piper? Do they all keep in touch? Is there another war? Were the dogs OK?
Well, gosh, I dunno.
I love the idea that readers think writers can answer questions about what happens outside the covers of their books — but are withholding the information in order to appear enigmatic.
The thing is, if I knew, I’d have put it in the book.
The great thing about an open ending is that the reader has to figure it out. Like who really killed Edwin Drood? And (my favourite) Did Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler get back together in the end?
I, of course, love that premise — life’s far too full of doom and gloom without having to read a thousand versions of Wuthering Heights.
But in any case, Tony’s wrong. If ever the unwritten sequel of a book were full of misery and madness, it’s P&P. Think about it. Lydia and Wickham will be back seconds after The End begging for money and threatening social blackmail, Mrs Bennet will drive poor Fitzwilliam Darcy so crazy that he’ll sue for divorce, Charlotte will go on trial for murdering Mr Collins. It’s obvious.
The proper place for a sequel is in the reader’s head. Daisy turns out to be a lesbian? Why not? Aunt Penn wasn’t dead after all, shows up speaking fluent Norwegian and fixes up the garden? Whatever.
I’ve done my bit. Your turn.