I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

A psychological thriller written by Canadian author Iain Reid. This debut work is uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing, and truly sticks with you. I’m not usually one for thrillers, but the title itself attracted me. I don’t have a lot of experience with thrillers, but at least for me, it is not what you expect. And so many great nuggets of insight throughout the short read.

Overall rating 8/10. Although I wouldn’t read it again, and I was uncomfortable almost the entire time, I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what happened next. I could feel my heart racing as I continued through the work. I hadn’t read anything like it before. After I completed the book, I immediately wanted to go back throughout to identify hints of foreshadowing.

Below are a few quotes that stuck with me:

“‘That we don’t know all the answers, that we can’t explain it all, like space. Maybe we’re not supposed to know all the answers. Questions are good. They’re better than answers. If you want to know more about life, how we work, how we progress, it’s questions that are important. That’s what pushes and stretches our intellect. I think questions make us feel less lonely and more connected. It’s not always about knowing. I appreciate not knowing. Not knowing is human. That’s how it should be, like space. It’s unsolvable, and it’s dark,’ I say, ‘but not entirely.'”

***

“‘I was into Jung for a bit there, too. To really know ourselves we have to question ourselves. I always liked that idea.'”

***

“‘Every story is made up. Even the real ones.'”

***

“‘The most attractive thing in the world is the combination of confidence and self-consciousness. Blended together in the proper amounts. Too much of either and all is lost. And you were right, you know.'”

***

“The idea that we are better off with one person for the rest of our lives is not an innate truth of existence. It’s a belief we want to be true.'”

***

This one shook me; I went back to reread this passage after completing:

“I think what I want is for someone to know me. Really know me. Know me better than anyone else and maybe even me. Isn’t that why we commit to another? It’s not for sex. If it were for sex, we wouldn’t marry one person. We’d just keep finding new partners. We commit for many reasons, I know, but the more I think about it, the more I think long-term relationships are for getting to know someone. I want someone to know me, really know me, almost like that person could get into my head. What would that feel like? To have access, to know what it’s like in someone else’s head. To rely on someone else, have him rely on you. That’s not a biological connection like the one between parents and children. This kind of relationship would be chosen. It would be something cooler, harder to achieve than one built on biology and shared genetics.

I think that’s it. Maybe that’s how we know when a relationship is real. When someone else previously unconnected to us know us in a way we never thought or believed possible. I like that.”

***

“And you also know things are real when they can be lost.”

***

“Is it better to be paired up or alone?”

***

“I remember Jake once telling me that the two most important things for quality intellectual interactions are:

One: keep simple things simple and complex things complex.

Two: don’t enter any conversation with a strategy or a solution.

***

“Fear is a rash.”

***

“People talk about the ability to endure. To endure anything and everything, to keep going, to be strong. But you can do that only if you’re not alone. That’s always the infrastructure life’s built on. A closeness with others. Alone it all becomes a struggle of mere endurance.”

***

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