20 Novels With The Best Closing Lines

The opening line of a book is no doubt extremely important. It grabs readers and hooks them in and makes them want to continue flipping through the pages. However, the closing line really does all the work. Author Joyce Carol Oates said it best:

The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.”

It’s the closing that stays with you long after you’ve set aside another novel, and that’s really powerful. While some closing lines have the power to completely shake up our expectations as readers, others entail a beautiful, well-thought-out sense of closure. Sometimes closing lines leave us hanging, making us beg for more as we obsess for hours, days, weeks, months, and even, at times, years.

Because closing lines are the ones that always stick with me, here are my favorite closing lines from the novels I keep in my personal library (in no particular order). These are the books that, no matter how many times you read them, leave you with something wonderful.

 

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

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3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread. I stepped into the room.”

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4. Animal Farm by George Orwell

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

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5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“He is coming, and I am here.”

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6. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

“Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.”

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7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”

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8. Dracula by Bram Stoker

“Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake.”

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9. The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”

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10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

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11. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

“Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.”

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12. My Ántonia by Willa Cather

“Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.”

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13. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

“There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it.”

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14. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”

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15. PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

“In the meantime, she would just live.”

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16. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

“She opened the door wide and let him into her life again.”

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17. The Green Mile by Stephen King

“We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long.”

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18. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

“He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together, and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.”

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19. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

“And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.”

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20. The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett

“…you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

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Do you love closing lines in novels as much as I do? Share your favorites in the comments.

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Featured image via Kotaku

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