Friday, November 19, 2010

"Isn't it pretty to think so?"*

I printed the American Book Review's PDF of the 100 Best Last Lines from Novels for miscellaneous reference. There is nothing more beautiful than the perfect last sentence. My favorite part of writing is wrapping it up. 

A few of my favorites:

One day I will read Ulysses. Friends have told me it's not that overwhelming if you just let it wash over you and don't stress out about all the references you're not getting. This last sentence sounds like it could have come from an E.E. Cummings poem. He loves yes's and flowers.

More from books I've never read...

I know the finale of The Great Gatsby is well-known and loved, but I believe my favorite passage trumps it, I think it's the best sentence in all of literature. And I know that's a bold statement. This is as Gatsby is in the pool, before (spoiler alert) George Wilson comes to shoot him.

"...he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about... like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees."

*Also one of my favorites, from The Sun Also Rises, a book I have infact read.

1 comment:

Pops said...

Gass can be exceedingly heavy going -- and maybe worth the effort. Once upon a time, when I lived in fly-over country, I was an avid fan; went to hear him speak, and then wrote about it for the campus daily.

So ... have at it. WMLW is a footnote explosion, and includes images of the stains of coffee cups sitting on the pages. As it happens, I own a copy, which you are welcome to borrow.