Dead Ladies: A compendium of classic novels, ruined

  1. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert: She dies.
  2. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy: She dies.
  3. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath: She almost dies.
  4. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë: She dies.
  5. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne: She dies.
  6. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy: They both die.
  7. The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy: She dies.
  8. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy: She dies.
  9. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy: She avenges her rape! Then she dies.
  10. Cousin Bette, Honore de Balzac: She dies.
  11. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton: She dies.
  12. Daisy Miller, Henry James: She dies.
  13. The Awakening, Kate Chopin: She dies.
  14. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides: They all die. (duh.)
  15. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: She dies.
  16. Sophie’s Choice, William Styron: She dies.
  17. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov: She dies.
  18. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë: Two women die and one man ̶i̶s̶ ̶c̶a̶s̶t̶r̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ loses his sight.
  19. 2666, Roberto Bolano: Many women die.
  20. Rebecca, Daphne DeMaurier: She dies.
  21. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway: She dies.
  22. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens: She is prostituted by her boyfriend. Then she dies.
  23. Charlotte’s Web: She dies.
  24. Our Town, Thorton Wilder: She dies.
  25. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell: She almost dies, then someone else does.
  26. Sula, Toni Morrison: She dies.
  27. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson: She dies.
  28. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys: She dies.
  29. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott: Meg dies. :(
  30. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates: She dies.
  31. Hamlet, William Shakespeare: She dies, and so does everyone else.

Thanks to my bookish friends Nathalie Baudrand, Judy Halperin, Amy Collier, and Andrew Martin for their help in compiling this list!