What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?

Like first sentence, the final sentence has the same gripping impact if it is put appropriately. Whereas the first sentence is to hook the readers to read further, usually the last sentence will be to wrap up the story or to leave a cliff hanger should there be any sequel. In any case, like the first sentence, it has to be captivating (or memorable) to the readers.

However, there are times that I will come across some books that leave the endings to our imaginations, which I do not really like. Being a reader, I would want to have a definite answer (be it a good, happy ending or a sad, tragic ending). Unless there is a sequel to the book, otherwise I would appreciate there is an ending to the story.

So, which book has a memorable last sentence? Seriously, my mind draws a blank here. (Yes, it is a tell-tale sign that I am getting old, haha). I guess I remember how the endings end more than the last sentences.

13 Responses
  1. Mari Says:

    I agree.

    It was definitely hard to remember the last sentence of the books I have read. Google helped with getting them just right. :)

    I did remember the big deal about the last word in HP series being "scar" and that being changed.

    Also, I love A Tale of Two Cities. I looked up the exact wording of the last sentence right off for that one. :)

  2. Traci Says:

    I know there must be some people who enjoy open-ended stories, but I'm not one of them. I'm not a writer, why should I have to come up with the ending? Unless there's a sequel, I want it tied up nice and neat in the end.

  3. Melody Says:

    Mari - I haven't finished reading the HP series so I'm very curious how it will end! I think A Tale of Two Cities is a popular pick, no matter if it's for its first sentence or its last sentence. ;)

    Traci - Open endings just don't work for me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. ;)

  4. Alice Says:

    I'm finally able to comment! I've been trying and trying and kept getting error messages from blogger...

    I don't like open endings too. I like closures and certainty. Otherwise... sigh...

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I know one of the open endings that sticks out the most in my mind is The Giver, which I'm already wanting to read again... I just read it in March! The ending doesn't tell what happens to Jonas, it just leaves it for the reader. This makes some readers irate, but what made me love it was when I read it with my kids. I learned, in that moment, one of the major differences between children and adults. Children, for the most part, view the world through the eyes of hope and optimism, whereas adults view it through experience and sometimes cynicism.

  6. Jeane Says:

    I agree with you. Who ever remembers a last sentence? But the quality and tone of an ending usually lingers somewhat.

  7. I know.. I come up with nothing and had to search for mine.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I remembered quite a few first sentences last week, but this week I couldn't think of any last sentences.

    Don't you think that in most cases last sentences are less memorable than the first? By then, most readers are thinking about the story than the exact sentence.

  9. Ana S. Says:

    This is a hard question! But I remember two closing paragraphs that I love. First, the one from the Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides:

    "It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together."

    Secondly, Stardust:

    "They say that each night, when the duties of state permit, she climbs, on foot, and limps, alone, to the highest peak of the palace, where she stands for hour after hour, seeming not to notice the cold peak winds. She says nothing at all, but simply stares upwards into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars."

  10. Melody Says:

    Alice - I'm glad you feel the same thing about open endings too. :)

    Koolaidmom - You're so right about the difference of views between children and adults. Their thoughts are always so pure and full of optimism, isn't it?

    Jeane - I think I'm one of those who remembers the first sentence more than the last sentence. Still, nothing beats how the story will end. ;)

    Confuzzled Books - I understand... I'd have googled them if I've some extra time.

    Nithin - Same here! I think one reason why some first sentences are memorable is because they're usually the first thing that make us hooked to the story, whereas we focus more on the endings than the last sentences in stories. ;)

    Nymeth - Those are great lines! I especially love the sentences from Stardust! I've to read that book soon! :)

  11. That's true. I remember the how but not the specifics.

  12. Kim L Says:

    I hardly ever remember openings sentences, much less closing ones. (I think perhaps the Hobbit opens with "In a hobbit hole..." and ends with something like "He took a long drag on his pipe") Closing lines don't seem to make as much of a difference, the entire ending just has to make sense, I guess.

  13. Melody Says:

    Chris, Kim - Indeed. I'm sure most readers would like to know what happened and how it would end more than the last sentence itself. :)

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