I’m such a hard customer to please when it comes to books. When choosing a brand new read, I find it’s only natural to crack open the cover and mooch about the first page or so. Being a sucker for electrifying opening lines, the proverbial ‘hook’ is all-important if I am to actually get my cash out. Even though it’s been two years since I became a library lout and as many years since I last bought a book, I still retain my sense of literary pride. By that I mean that some books are just quick, disposable reads. These are the ‘no-brainers’ in the publishing world; the thin gruel, the tabloid bestsellers. While others are like long-term investment for the serious reader; the meat-and-bones, the ‘daddies’ of literature. And it’s the latter that usually gets the shelf-space in my house.
So a good opening line is an absolute must. It indicates a sense of purpose and acts as a promise of things to come. Of course, things don’t always end up like that, but that’s another story. Yet, when I stumbled across an article by www.stylist.co.uk about the best 100 closing lines of a book, it got me thinking. Endings are just as important as beginnings, maybe even more so.
How many times have I picked up a title only to come to the end and feel cheated? Often enough. So, as an alternative to suggesting a book because of its famous ‘opening line’, here’s my top 10 ‘best closing lines’, which at least guarantees that the goods are delivered.
“The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room.”
“I’m fine. I have bad dreams but I never saw Mister Duck again. I play video games. I smoke a little dope. I got my thousand-yard stare. I carry a lot of scars. I like the way that sounds. I carry a lot of scars.”
“Her lips move and a moment before the door splinters off its hinges she says, her voice strong and quiet, ‘My name is Alisa.'”
“She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.”
“And here she is, herself, Clarissa, not Mrs. Dalloway anymore; there is no one now to call her that. Here she is with another hour before her. ‘Come in, Mrs. Brown,’ she says. ‘Everything’s ready.'”
There’s my top five, what are yours? Which books have left a lasting impression on you long after you have turned the final page?
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