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Favourite Last Lines (Spoilers Within)

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I can't name a recent novel that had a really memorable last line. Paraphrased from memory my favourites are:

 

  • The Clive James novel where he ends, "Well, I'll make her a lesbian for a start"

  • The Tom Sharpe one where the faithful retainer "smiles as he looks down on the face of his Grandson"

  • And the best is Elmore Leonard in Stick: "Frank, why don't you shut the **** up?"

 

Any other favourites?

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The one that springs immediately to mind;

 

"Reader, I married him" - Jane Eyre.

 

I think this stuck in my mind, not only because it was the ending I wanted, but because it was addressed directly to me.

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"After all, tomorrow is another day" - Gone with the wind. One of the most famous last lines from any book/movie. And that whole speech is really moving.

I was going to mention GWTW, but seeing as I've neither seen the film nor read the book, I didn't know if that was the last line of the book too.

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"Reader, I married him" - Jane Eyre.

 

I don't know why it is, but that's often looked at as the last line. In fact it begins the final chapter, after which there's the usual Victorian novelistic housekeeping exercise of tying up all the loose ends. Perhaps that should have been the last line after all. Because of this tendency to whip through the lives of the characters after the close of the main narrative, novels of that period tend not to have the most dazzling of closing lines. The exceptions that spring to mind are Wuthering Heights:

 

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.

 

and Great Expectations:

 

I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.

 

I think it's quite difficult to get that killer final line without including something fairly radical about the plot, which most authors try to avoid in the name of clarity. That said, William Golding is a master of twisted endings. The last line of Pincher Martin puts the final note on a process that has been building at the close, forcing you to reassess everything you've read throughout the book (so I won't explain it - it's not a dramatic line in itself), but perhaps his best is the close of The Paper Men. It gives away the ending completely, so if you don't want to know, don't look!

 

 

How the devil did Rick L. Tucker manage to get hold of a gu

 

 

That appealed to me as an ending!

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The one that springs immediately to mind;

 

"Reader, I married him" - Jane Eyre.

 

I think this stuck in my mind, not only because it was the ending I wanted, but because it was addressed directly to me.

Huh, If we have to lose a whole heap of posts, why couldn't this blunder have gone too? :o:dunce::o

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Huh, If we have to lose a whole heap of posts, why couldn't this blunder have gone too? :o:dunce::o

:D

 

I know exactly what you mean, Meg! I think there are plenty of my own 'regrettables' still hanging around. I think of all of them, though, yours was the most understandable, since that's the last line we'd all want!

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