Friday, October 1, 2010

Great Last Lines In Books

 Empire of the Sun 
Mary Graham: [upon finding her barely recognizable son] Jamie?... Jamie?... Jamie?
On The Road
...the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.  - Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

Death of the Fox
"What doest thou fear? Strike, man, strike!" The ax is bright in dwindling sunlight. Flashes high before it falls. Higher by far a lone gull banks and circles on the darkening air. Then flies away to vanish over the Thames."

The Catcher In The Rye
If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

The House Of Mirth - Edith Wharton
It was this moment of love, this fleeting victory over themselves, which had kept them from atrophy and extinction; which, in her, had reached to him in every struggle against the influence of her surroundings, and in him, had kept alive the faith that now drew him penitent and reconciled to her side.
He knelt by the bed and bent over her, draining their last moment to its lees; and in the silence there passed between them the word which made all clear.
The Violent Bear it Away - Flannery O'Connor
His singed eyes, black in their deep pockets, seemed already to envision the fate that awaited him but he moved steadily on, his face set toward the dark city, where the children of God lay sleeping
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
...He shook his head slowly from side to side. Rose of Sharon loosened one side of the blanket and bared her breast. "You got to," she said. She squirmed closer and pulled his head close. "There!" she said. "There." Her hand moved behind his head and supported it. Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.
 Look Homeward, Angel - Thomas Wolfe
...Or I should say he was like a man upon a hill above the town he has left, yet does not say "The town is near," But turns his eyes upon the distant soaring ranges.
 Mystic River - Dennis Lehane
...Standing along the parade route with his wife and child, he wished a lot of things for Dave Boyle. But peace mostly. More than anything, he hoped Dave, wherever he was, got a little of that.
 A Death in the Family - "Knoxville Summer of 1915" - Prologue (James Agee)
“After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her; and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home; but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.”
True Confessions (John Gregory Dunne):
Des held up his hand. "You were my salvation, Tommy."...You made me remember something I forgot. Or tried to forget is more like it. You and me, we were always just a couple of harps."
The Great Gatsby:
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
More will be added...

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