John Peterson claims that the only justification for the surprise ending is that life itself is full of surprises. Our lives are full of strange accidents. He rightly invokes G.K. Chesterton who says ‘With every step of our lives, we enter into the middle of some story we are certain to misunderstand.’ Those who are convinced that everything is explained by sociological pressures or psychological urges or biological functions or economic processes may also prefer their fiction to represent life’s outcomes as inevitable and therefore predictable. ‘To the fatalist,’ says Chesterton, ‘existence is a science or a plan which must end up in a certain way. But existence is a story, and a story may end up in any way.”
Stories in Best Laid Plans were originally published in Gilbert: the Magazine of the American Chesterton Society.