I'm afraid that this is going to be one of those "There are two kinds of people…" posts, but there it is: there are two kinds of people (truly!) (maybe): Those that think the story continues outside the confines of the fictional work, and those who don't.
Here is what I mean: It is said that Jane Austen knew the post-novel fates of every single one of her characters. (Don't you like "it is said?" It means I don't have to write, "I vaguely remember reading on the internet one time, and I think it was about Jane Austen….")
Do you want to know how crazy I am? Here we go: Austen knew this, I believe, because they exist: both the characters and their real actual lives. They exist in the alternate fictional universe where stories come from. (For a different and, I believe, not entirely accurate depiction of this world, I refer you to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and though I don't think he gets it exactly right, it is a wonderful story.) And even if the novels themselves (all novels) don't contain the full story of a person, the full story is there still, hovering invisibly in the background.
I wish I knew, of course, what these stories were. I love it so when an author takes some time at the end of the book, as in Anna Karenina or (more recently) Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, to tell you what happens in the rest of the lives of the people you've fallen for. And because I have in many ways terrible taste, I feel that the platonic ideal of this is Animal House, when you find out about Senator Blutarsky in the final credits.
So: Do you believe this? And: Whose story do you wish you knew?
(And sorry for all the colons and parentheses. I am on a colon and parentheses kick, and I don't know if it will ever end.)