I've had some--let's call it constructively unflattering comments--regarding the ending of one of my novels. My initial responses ranged from sorry, take the book back, I'm listening-- to what didn't you appreciate about it? Then I got to thinking--just how important is an ending to a reader's overall impression of a book? When someone pays their hard earned cash for one of my stories, they have every right to express how they feel about what they just purchased. So after thinking a little bit about it, I decided their opinions regarding how a novel concludes are important, very important in fact, both the good and the unflattering. I go to a movie that I end up not enjoying--hell yes, I'm going to be somewhat chagrined. So back to my question--how important are endings? Here's an example. I read Steig Larson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and thought the story was pretty incredible--well written, nice plot twists, characters you cared for. But that ending! I hated it. In fact I recently rented the movie and thought the ending in the movie version was much more satisfactory. Yet, I still thought the book was better overall.
Here's the basic question to readers then--if everything about a novel--the plot, characters, book cover, etc--are satisfying but the ending leaves you cold, would you recommend the book to others? I think I'll end it here!