Our final three picks were all controversial, each in its own way. “The Pale King” was, of course, unfinished, but so are a number of great works of art. We have only fragments of Sappho’s poetry. Chaucer was a little more than halfway through “The Canterbury Tales” when he died. And, of course, there’s Haydn’s unfinished symphony, and all those magnificent sculptures by Michelangelo, only half emerged from their blocks of marble.
I’ve never thought of it this way. I’ve just thrown aside unfinished novels, and treated them as greedy book industry machinations or curiosities. But this little paragraph, citing Haydn and Michelangelo, somehow puts it into a suddenly different perspective. Why can’t an unfinished work still be marvelous. Maybe I will read The Pale King after all.