What’s Your Favorite Last Line of a Novel?

Here’s American Book Review with the 100 Best Last Last Lines from Novels.

My personal favorite? “Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy.” That line still sends chills down my spine when I read it. How could you not go on to read The Return of the King after reading that final note in The Two Towers?

In fact, that line was ringing in my mind as I wrote a scene near the conclusion of Cyndere’s Midnight, as a particular character’s life suddenly takes an alarming new direction…

I rewrote the last line of Auralia’s Colors about a hundred times. Some people have told me that it contains an obvious mistake. But it doesn’t. I meant to say that a particular character’s “open eyes opened.” It’s a vague nod to one of my favorite poems, and to one of my favorite scriptures,  but I don’t really feel like saying which. (And no, please don’t post that whole sentence here, as it contains a spoiler.)

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  • emiliolizardo

    His single minded purpose.
    His unending fury.
    – Stephen King ‘Christine’

  • baaltshuvah

    “Say it ain’t true, Roy.”

    When Roy looked into the boy’s eyes he wanted to say it wasn’t but couldn’t, and he lifted his hands to his face and wept many bitter tears.

    -The Natural by Bernard Malamud

  • gaith

    “So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.”

    Philip Pullman, “Northern Lights”.

  • http://shinbikkuri3.wordpress.com/ „Å≥„Å£„Åè„Çä

    OK, I can see why you wouldn’t want to ruin the ending. I’m afraid my public library mightn’t have your book; the English novels are pretty scarce.

    Favorite last line? How about: “It was only then that I realized I should have stayed on board that ship; yes, even if I did not know where it was headed. But now it was too late for me to act on that realization, and it was in the grip of endless regret and infinite fear that I slipped silently toward the black, black waves.”

    自分は何処へ行くんだか判らない船でも、やっぱり乗っている方がよっかたと始めて悟りながら、しかもその悟りを利用する事が出来ずに、無限の後悔と恐怖とを抱いて黒い波の方へ静かに落ちて行った。

    This is from “The Seventh Night” of Natsume Soseki’s “Ten Nights of Dreams”. The whole last page was awesome, but I didn’t want to type a whole story here. The character was faced with desperation, acted rashly to put an end to it, and regretted his decision. A good life lesson, perhaps.

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com noneuclidean

    Jeffrey, is the poem, “I heard a fly buzz when I died”?

    “And then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see.”

    I’m probably off base, but I thought I’d take a guess.

  • facesunveiled

    “I am haunted by waters.”
    Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It (really a short story, but I still like it.)

    “Ramans do everything in threes.”
    Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama
    One of the most spine-tingling lines ever, even though it kind of got ruined with the Rama sequels, which didn’t have the mystery or sense of wonder Rendezvous did.

  • A.D.D.boy

    i love shocker endings a lot. i recently read the beast in the cave by lovecraft, and it was wonderful how he kept the most important detail a surprise until the last sentance.

  • http://lookingcloser.org Jeffrey Overstreet

    Hey, if you feel my “teasers” are too tempting, you can always save yourself some money and use the public library. That way, you can escape my malevolent ploy… ;)

    To be honest, I only meant to avoid spoiling a surprise ending. And I like to give readers room to make connections on their own…

  • http://shinbikkuri3.wordpress.com/ „Å≥„Å£„Åè„Çä

    I don’t understand the point of the post. You were telling us about your last line, but you refused to type it or allow anyone else to type it… is this a ploy to sell your book??? :)

    Can you tell us the favorite scripture, or does that also contain a spoiler?

  • puckspice

    Cheesy, but my very favorite: “I been there before.” – Huckleberry Finn

  • http://www.besidethequeue.wordpress.com besidethequeue

    I too am going to fudge the rules a little bit. I am going to include a final paragraph from one of my favorite novels; though the final line is beautiful in and of itself:

    “Then, in the loss of all the world, when I might have said the words I had so long wanted to say, I could not say them. I saw that I was not going to be able to talk without crying, and so I cried. I said, ‘But what about this other thing?’

    She looked at me then. ‘Yes,’ she said. She held out her hand to me. She gave me the smile that I had never seen and will not see again in this world, and it covered me all over with light.”

    - Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

  • azhiashalott

    I’m going the fudge the rules because I can’t decide.

    “It was with a thumb wet with his own tears and stained wtih her blood that he made on the child’s forehead the sign of the cross.” — P.D. James The Children of Men

    “During the monsoon, on my last morning, all this Beethoven and rain.” — Michael Ondaatje Running in the Famliy

    “‘You’re looking unusually cheerful today,’ said the second-in-command.” — Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited

    “Is it in our dreaming that we glimpse the fullnesss of his promise?” — Frederic Buechner The Son of Laughter

    “As soon as they had strength, they arose, joined hands again, and went on.” — Thomas Hardy Tess of the D’Urbervilles

  • bluewoad

    Well, technically that’s not the last line of the novel, since The Two Towers is only the middle third of the novel. :-)

    The best final sentence:

    “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.”

    But it works best if you read the whole last chapter.

  • faraway212

    “In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
    -The Road, Cormac McCarthy

  • http://hjstaff.wordpress.com/ Greg Wright

    “Not the empty gloves, Joe,” she whispered. (The Conquest of Canaan, 1905, Booth Tarkington)

    “Well, I’m back,” he said. (The Return of the King)


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