A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra:
“So this is the Tolstoy book?” She nodded to the chair where Hadji Murád lay. That, he hadn’t forgotten.
“Yes, the one he wrote about Chechnya.”
Pulling back a stray lock of hair, she drew a question mark around her ear. He handed her the book. She flipped to the last page.
“What are you doing? Don’t read the last page.”
“I always read the last page first,” she said, without looking up.
“”That ruins everything. The whole book is working toward the last page.”
Her lips pursed to a pebble. The paper cover bent in her grip, as if she were steadying her hands. The amphetamines? But she spoke in a flat, uninspired tone. “If it’s not an ending I think I’ll like, then I won’t read the book.” She handed it back to him.
“Are you serious?”
“He gets decapitated on the last page. That’s not an ending I want to read.”