More from the Lorin Stein interview at the Rumpus:

That’s a complaint that you hear about, what is called—unfairly—the “New Yorker story.” The New Yorker, nowadays, publishes all kinds of things, wonderfully. But when there were more short stories out there, there was a sense—in the ’60s and the ’70s, especially—that New Yorker stories leaned too much on open endings. I, for one, like open endings. There are two basic defenses for an open ending: one is, If you read carefully enough, you’ll know what happened. And the other is, That’s how life is: things don’t come to neat endings, there isn’t a “happily ever after.” But if you take that second line of defense, then I think you have to make the point that the writer has shown the range of possibility. I listened to a lot of country songs when I was a kid and I would ask my mom or dad whether the woman was going to come back to the guy. Because the whole song would be asking her to come back. It’s a fair question, right? But it’s a childish question. Grownups understand the point isn’t the outcome, the point is defining the problem. And so that’s how I would defend an open ending. When it works, you get a sense of the dilemma.