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Thread: 100 best last lines from novels

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW
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    "Damn it all, I can’t think of anything, except those words of his... ’HAPPINESS FOR EVERYBODY, FREE, AND NO ONE WILL GO AWAY UNSATISFIED!’"


    ^Walks all over 1984... imo.

  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
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    "Damn it all, I can’t think of anything, except those words of his... ’HAPPINESS FOR EVERYBODY, FREE, AND NO ONE WILL GO AWAY UNSATISFIED!’"
    And again - it probably sounds even better in context

  3. #28
    Wuthering Heights. LOVE that book. And it's so true about the ending. I was angry at the book while totally being in love with it. So many emotions wrapped up in it and I will always say I love Emily more than Charlotte .

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    He loved Big Brother.
    That one never fails to send chills up my spine.
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  5. #30
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand_Maester View Post
    I know this hardly compares with "great literature", but I know the ending of John Grisham's The Brethren was fantastic. Whether the final line was especially good, I don't remember... but the end was really good.
    Last line not especially so - I happen to have it here:

    He watched the street and the traffic for a while, then left to gather his colleagues.

    The ones that spring to mind for me are:

    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past, The Great Gatsby

    I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger...a Man on the Move, and just sick enough to be totally confident, Fear and Loathing

    And the last line of The Brave, Gregory MacDonald, which is a graphic rather than a line...and, and, and...still gets me here every time *thumps chest*




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  6. #31
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    "He loved Big Brother" is the first last line that came to my mind, and there it was, #7 on the list.

    The most devastating last line I've ever read.

    I'm also very fond of:

    And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    Yes, thought Montag, that's the one I'll save for noon. For noon...

    When we reach the city.
    Last edited by Phaeal; 06-17-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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  7. #32
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    And:

    But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

    He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said.
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  8. #33
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    Good grief! How about a spoiler's alert on this thread! O_o

    How about: The sun is setting. I feel this river flowing through me--its past, its ancient soil,the changing climate. The hills gently girdle it about; its course is set. "Tropic of Cancer" by Henry Miller.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    It's more meaningful in context, for the person who hadn't read it.
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  9. #34
    Makes useful distinctions Lady Ice's Avatar
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    It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." (A Tale of Two Cities)

    I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. (Lolita)

    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly back into the past (The Great Gatsby)

    Ah! Vanitas vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied? — Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out (Vanity Fair)
    Last edited by Lady Ice; 06-17-2010 at 07:43 PM.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearilou View Post
    That one never fails to send chills up my spine.
    Ditto. I got the same feeling from the end of Candor, too. It's a subtle kind of terrifying that's hard to write.

  11. #36
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    Oh, these are all wonderful, and of course I was happy to see Lolita's gorgeous last lines included.

    I've been reading a lot of Haruki Murakami lately and I'm getting a little sad that he's not receiving the same kind of kudos many of these other contemporary authors are getting who are writing the same general kind of thing as he writes (Atwood, for example). Not that they don't deserve it, too. SOMEBODY GIVE SOME LOVE TO HARUKI! He's one of the best writers I've ever read...makes me want to learn Japanese so I can read his stuff in its original form.

  12. #37
    Blanking comma SarahNFisk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    Good grief! How about a spoiler's alert on this thread! O_o
    Isn't it implied?

  13. #38
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    Good grief! How about a spoiler's alert on this thread! O_o
    SNAPE KILLS GATSBY

  14. #39
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The Dark Tower's last line is perfect. Really the only way it could have ended, in my opinion. Though many readers were angered, according to King.

    I thought it was brilliant, even if a bit unoriginal.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooeedownunder View Post
    Wuthering Heights is my favourite book of all time, and the only book I've read several times, yet sadly I'd forgotten the ending.
    Ohhh man, ditto forever on Wuthering Heights and its haunting ending. I also loved the last paragraphs of Gone With the Wind, actually wrote them down and kept them with me when I was a teenager --
    She could see the white house gleaming welcome to her through the reddening autumn leaves, feel the quiet hush of the country twilight coming down over her like a benediction, feel the dews falling on the acres of green bushes starred with fleecy white, see the raw color of the red earth and the dismal dark beauty of the pines on the rolling hills.
    Also the end of A Tale of Two Cities. Funny, I was reading it for a class (again, as a teenager) and my father asked me what that book was I had there. I told him, and he looked at me and said feelingly, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." I said, "No way did you get that exactly right!" I flipped to the back of the book. He had! Amazing how people carry those things around in their hearts for years and you never know.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirOtter View Post
    I think A Tale of Two Cities ought to get special recognition for having both one of the best first lines AND one of the best last lines.
    Dickens's prose is utterly brilliant. I re-read A Christmas Story every year, and I'm still charmed and amazed at his artistry.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by DamaNegra View Post
    The last line of One Hundred Years of Solitude is pure brilliance. ¿Does anyone have it on hand? I do, but it's in Spanish
    It's on the list--#15 I think.

    I didn't 100% agree with the list because I think some of the lines were not, in themselves, great. For example, the last line from Handmaid's Tale is great only in relation to the novel. In itself, it's nothing great.

    And they left off some of my own favorites. It's all personal opinion anyway.

  18. #43
    New year, new avatar. hester's Avatar
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    My fave is still the last line of "Middlemarch" (which came in at number 29, I believe).

    Always makes me cry
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  19. #44
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    I love the last few lines in Ann Petry's The Street. It's one of the few books that made me tear up towards the end.

    The snow fell softly on the street. It muffled sound. It send people homeward, so that the street was soon deserted, empty, quiet. And it could have been any street in the city, for the snow laid a delicate film over the sidewalk, over the brick of the tired, old buildings; gently obscuring the grime and the garbage and the ugliness.
    Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man is also excellent.

    Both will have to be carted away and disposed of, before too long.
    Some of these lines are visually interesting -- particularly Ronald Sukenick's Out (#89) and Carlos Fuentes's Christopher Unborn (#94). Does anyone know of contemporary novels with similar formatting?
    Last edited by tutty; 06-17-2010 at 10:00 PM.

  20. #45
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    There are some great lines there but oddly, reading this over caused me to cross as many books off my to-read list as it caused me to add.
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  21. #46
    Mexican on the loose! DamaNegra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albannach View Post
    It's on the list--#15 I think.

    Oh, thanks. Read it, though, and wasn't particularly impressed. It clearly has more impact in Spanish, but here goes:

    "Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would fnish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth" GGM, One Hundred Years of Solitude
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  22. #47
    One of my all-time favorite lines is on the list but it properly shouldn't be there because it is not from a novel:

    His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

    James Joyce, “The Dead” The Dubliners

  23. #48
    Am I the only one who started counting how many of the books on the list I'd read and how many of those were purely because my English teachers made me? ^_^
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  24. #49
    Grateful for the day cooeedownunder's Avatar
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    Our English teachers must have been more lenient. Well that is probably not true, although not that many of them made an impact on me. Well, the endings, in a manner that I remebered, at least.
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  25. #50
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    Stephen King's The Green Mile really resonated with me. I remember I was sitting in study hall when I finished the book, and I thought, "Wow..."

    "We each owe a death - there are no exceptions - but, oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long."

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