I have just finished reading The Butcherbird by Geoffrey Cousins. That is to say, I finished reading all of the pages that were bound between the covers of the book, but I am extremely perplexed and am after confirmation about whether a few pages have been accidentally left out of my copy.
My book ends on page 274 but when I checked on the Allen & Unwin website it is listed as containing 280 pages. This sounds about right because if the book were to end the way it does in my copy there are going to be some very dissatisfied customers! I was beginning to breathe a little easier but I couldn't leave well enough alone, could I? Digging further I have visited the National Libraries of Australia site and found that it’s listed there as 274 pages. *gulp*
Here’s how my copy of The Butcherbird ends:
The tender, her charming tender, she’d grown to love the word, eased back into the water as it approached the shadow of the great ship in its path. Crew persons were scurrying back and forth over its innumerable decks and she could just make out a group of guests under a long canopy at the stern. She must be the last to arrive. Excellent. She loved making an entrance. She checked her clothing and stroked her pearls for luck. Somehow stepping on board this boat could take her into a new life. She could feel it. You’d sell your soul for this.That’s it! Fin. The end.
And then, as they pulled alongside, a familiar voice drifted down from above.
‘Come aboard, dear lady, come aboard.’
That this is the true final ending of the book is almost unthinkable. The way it has been left, nothing at all has been resolved and it felt as though we were on the very brink of getting the whole thing tied together. For me, it means the difference between rating the book 3 and a half to 4 stars or 1 and a half to 2 stars.
Now, it could simply be that my review copy was simply short a page or six. If there's anyone out there who has a copy of the book handy could they please check whether the above quote ends your book too...plee-ee-ase.