13 March 2008

I really enjoyed this list of the 100 best closing lines from novels. (Even more nominees can be found here.) It's too bad that they restrict the list to fiction, though, because some of my favorite closing lines are from memoirs. From Seven Pillars of Wisdom: "In the end he agreed; and then at once I knew how much I was sorry." And from The Kid Stays in the Picture: "Resolve: Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all."

It's also strange that they nominate the closing lines of all of Updike's Rabbit novels except for Rabbit Redux, which may have my favorite last line of any contemporary novel. ("He. She. Sleeps. O.K.?") The last sentence of Atonement probably also deserved a nod. Any other nominees?


Jinnayah said...

Couldn't get through all of them ... Don't know why ... it just seemed disturbing. Probably because Beckett and Orwell rated so highly. (And that 1984 line is NOTHING unless you fully understand the book -- isn't that cheating?)

My dad said to me after a high-school cross country race that I ran like Death. I looked at him funny, so he copied down the last page of _Watership Down_ for me. Then I got it ...

It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
'You needn't worry about them,' said his companion. 'They'll be all right -- and thousands like them. If you'll come along, I'll show you what I mean.'
He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were in bloom.

TheNinthwave said...


The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. –George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)