23 February 2009

Famous last words

We often hear talk of the best opening lines in books, but we've been thinking lately about closing lines. The last sentence of a book can truly affect the way a book resonates with the reader.

And it seems some of our favourite closing sentences are in some of our favourite books. We haven’t had a list for a while so why not a list of favourite last lines? Why not, Indeed! And to make it more interesting – we won’t post the titles till tomorrow, but we bet you can get most of them. And that’s what we’re talking about – resonance. Resonance, resonance, resonance...


1. and it was still hot.
2. just as you imagined it would be.
3. And they built a great wall all around the island, with watchtowers from which they could search the sea for signs of rafts, and shoot down passing seagulls and cormorants so that no one would ever find their island again.
4. Slowly, jiggety-hop, she begins the long journey home.
5. It’s not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
6. For birds like Mr Percival do not really die.
7. And that’s how I live now.
8. And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? And I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.
9. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.
10. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
11. He loved Big Brother.
12. I think it consoled me a little, I think ceremony always has, a little.
13. And Athena will play Bach on the piano, in the empty house, and her left hand will keep up the steady rocking beat, and her right hand will run the arpeggios, will send them flying, will toss handfuls of notes high into the sparkling air!
14. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.
15. He was mourned in every continent.
16. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpteenth time that life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.
17. and among the merits of Elinor and Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that though sisters, and living almost within sight of each other, they could live without disagreement between themselves, or producing coolness between their husbands.
18. And so they went off together but wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place at the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.
19. Are there any questions?
20. Pour into a tall glass and top with champagne and a dash of grenadine. Cheers!

4 comments:

Jonathan Shaw said...

I recognised 1, 5, 6, 10, 11 and approximately 18. In fact, I read 10 when I was editing a piece that quoted that line, so I read the whole novel on the alert for references to boats and currents. (It turned out I was right to check, because the manuscript had us being born back ceaselessly into the past, an awkward process.)

hereandnow said...

Hmm, I think I recognise 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 17 and 18.

I love last lines, possibly even more than first lines. I am the kind of person who often reads the last page first. (Some of my colleagues have threatened to disown me for this -- but I like seeing how the story is constructed! Is this so unreasonable? Heh.)

What Kate did next ... said...

This is like a really good trivia night section.

I recognise 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, I can guess 14 though I haven't read it, 15 is bugging me, 17, and 18.

Hanging for the answers now. What is 3?? It sounds bizarre.

10 is the most beautiful and sad last line ever.

Jessica said...

Wow, what a great idea to spotlight last lines! I can recognise a few, but I'll be interested to see what the others belong to.