The Washington Post recently published a ‘best last lines in fiction’ article, and it was exactly as predictable as you’d expect. Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye (which I adore, but still…), Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind, Huckleberry Finn, The Sun Also Rises etc etc. A veritable who’s who of the literary canon, but not many surprises.
I decided to pull together an alternative version with my own top 10 favourite last lines.
You can read mine below – a mixture of serious and silly – and then I’d love you to leave your own favourite in the comments.
1.“I said, ‘You’re an old fool. You’ve probably got English blood.’” – Talking It Over, Julian Barnes
2. “And isn’t that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.” – The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth
3. “To know Being, this is the final grace accorded from the mountain.” – The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd
4. “My children are the descendants of those unbroken.” – The Hate Race, Maxine Beneva Clarke
5. “You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.” – The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
6. “He likes the thought of ships moving over the water, towards another world just out of sight.” – Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel
7. “Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat’s blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.” The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
8. “Ha ha ho ho and hee hee.” – Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Tom Robbins
9. “Remember what I say: not everything will pass.” – Do Not Tell Us We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien
10. “As usual, my wife is right.” – The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
(Also, if books are your thing, come and say hello on my Instagram account @ruthreadsbooks)