20 More of the Greatest Last Lines in Novels

20The Greatest Final Words

Last week we posted 20 of the best closing lines in literature, but we couldn’t stop there. We’ve added 20 more of the most memorable, poetic and enduring last words in some of the world’s greatest books. Feel free to use the comments section of this post to suggest any you think should have made the list.

1. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off. –Joseph HellerCatch-22

2. Excellently observed,’ answered Candide; ‘but we must cultivate our garden. — Voltaire, Candide

3. Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how
she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days. –Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

4. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. –George Eliot, Middlemarch

5. 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.– Charles Dickens,  A Tale of Two Cities

6.A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans — Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

7. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy. — Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

8. I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths  fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind  breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine  unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth. — Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

9. When the day shall come, that we do part,’ he said softly, and  turned to look at me, ‘if my last words are not ‘I love you’ – ye’ll ken  it was because I didna have time. —  Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross

10. I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be. — Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

11. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that  remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a  huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of  execration. — Albert Camus, The Stranger

12. Then starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind him the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat. — Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

13. Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past. — Willa Cather, My Antonia

14. She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life. — Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections 

15. If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back,grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who. –Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

16. Everything we need that is not food or love is here in the tabloid racks. The tales of the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. The miracle vitamins, the cures for cancer, the remedies for obesity. The cults of the famous and the dead. — Don DeLillo, White Noise

17. In your rocking-chair, by your window dreaming, shall you long, alone. In your rocking-chair, by your window, shall you dream such happiness as you may never feel. –Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie 

18. Go, my book, and help destroy the world as it is. –Russell Banks, Continental Drift 

19. Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room. The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below. —  Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being 

20.  Are there any questions? —  Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


To buy any of the books on this list, visit our Curated Book List Store on Amazon.com

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