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Paper Palace Ending

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The Paper Palace tells the story of Elle, a woman who is married to Peter and has three children with him.

The novel is set in Cape Cod and follows Elle’s life as she struggles with her feelings for two men, Peter, her husband, and Jonas, her childhood sweetheart. Elle has known Jonas since she was a child, and they have always had a special connection. However, Elle is married to Peter and is the mother of three children. The novel explores the complexities of Elle’s relationships and her struggles with her feelings for both men.

Throughout the novel, Elle is portrayed as a complex and multi-dimensional character. She is a wife, a mother, and a woman who is struggling with her feelings for two men. Elle is caught in a dilemma between her love for Peter, the man she is married to, and her love for Jonas, her childhood sweetheart. Elle is a woman who is torn between her duty as a wife and mother and her desire for something more.

Elle’s relationships with both men are complex and multi-faceted. Peter is a loving and devoted husband and father, but Elle feels that their relationship has become routine and stagnant. On the other hand, Jonas is the man who has always been there for Elle, and she has a deep connection with him. However, Jonas is not a part of her daily life, and Elle is unsure if he is the right choice for her.

Below you will find my thoughts as to what happens at the end of book – the The Paper Palace ending explained.

Be advised that there are spoilers ahead, obviously, so be entirely sure you want to continue reading.

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The Paper Palace Ending Explained

So just what happened at the end of The Paper Palace?

The ending of the novel is ambiguous and leaves the reader wondering about Elle’s final decision. The author, Miranda Cowley Heller, has said that she didn’t intend for the ending to be ambiguous, but that readers have been debating the ending and she finds it interesting. In the book, Elle is portrayed as a woman who is stuck in between two great loves, with no clear good or bad choice. The author leaves it up to the reader to decide Elle’s final decision, making it a personal and subjective interpretation.

The novel’s ending is a reflection of the complexities of relationships and the struggles of trying to find the right path in life. Elle’s decision is not a clear-cut one, and the reader is left to ponder on the possibilities of what could have happened. The ending is a reflection of the complexities of life and the struggles that we all face in trying to find our place in the world.

The novel’s acknowledgements can be very telling. At the end of her debut novel, Miranda Cowley Heller tells another story: “When I was in my teens and first attempting to write fiction, my grandfather Malcolm Cowley gave me a piece of advice that I have carried with me: the only thing you need to know, he said, is that every good story must have a beginning, a middle and an end, with the end foreshadowed in the beginning.” This statement is a reflection of the author’s approach to storytelling and the way she has crafted the ending of the novel.

In the wake of the book’s released, the debate over explaining the ending has become increasingly feverish. There are entire forum threads dedicated to it, in fact, on Reddit and Goodreads, with many people asking the same question: who did Elle choose?

Interestingly, the decision wasn’t always clear-cut for Heller, either. “I didn’t have any idea who Elle would choose. In fact, the choice was made in the last two, three pages of the novel. It was very important for Elle not to be ‘directed’ by me but to live out the process organically.”

Heller followed her grandfather’s advice: throughout the novel, the pond remains a tether for Elle, for her family and her lovers. Her choice – and the dilemma it causes – is painted through the landscape like salt spray. In the hours after her infidelity, Elle treads a fine balance between craving the safety of the shallows (what Peter offers) and her “love” of “the fear, the catch of breath in my throat” (which Jonas provides). We just don’t know which she chooses.

There are clues, and potential red herrings, woven throughout The Paper Palace, about its ending. The entire novel dwells on marriage and its frailties. Unhappy marriages run their way through the book as they do Elle’s heritage: her grandparents married three times a-piece; her mother Wallace had reams of lovers; her father had three wives. “In my day, we simply divorced and remarried,” Wallace quips. “So much simpler. Refreshing, even. Like buying a new suit of clothes.” When she takes off her wedding ring – “I squeeze it tight against my life line one final time before leaving it behind me on the step and heading down the path to take my swim” – is Elle protecting it from loss, or walking away from her marriage?

In Elle’s case she is choosing between a great love and a great love. There is no bad choice, but that also means there is no good choice. The author has crafted the ending in such a way that it is open to interpretation, and in the end, the reader is left to make their own decision about Elle’s final choice.

I hope you enjoyed this ending explanation for The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller! And as always, I wish you happy reading! ❤️