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So Long, Farewell: Best Last Lines in Books

20 September 2023

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Unforgettable last words

The best endings can pack a punch, whether the last lines are thought-provoking or masterfully tie off the plot. And it’s true for many books that the final lines are just as impactful as the opening ones.

Last words often leave you with a sense of completion—and the great ones can capture the core of the entire story.

Last lines come in all shapes and sizes: short and long, mysterious and predictable. Here, I’ve gathered fifteen of the best last lines in fiction, from modern books to classic literature. Is your favourite final sentence in the list?

1

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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

Great Gatsby Book Cover

2

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

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

Frankenstein Book Cover

3

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger

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

Catcher in the Rye Book Cover

4

Moby Dick

Herman Melville

“It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.”

Moby Dick Book Cover

5

The Green Mile

Stephen King

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

Green Mile by Stephen King

6

The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold

“I wish you all a long and happy life.”

The Lovely Bone Book Cover

7

Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell

“He loved Big Brother.”

1984 by George Orwell, book cover

8

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky

“So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you. Love always, Charlie.”

Perks of being a wallflower book cover

9

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

“Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this.”

Little Women Book Cover

10

Stardust

Neil Gaiman

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

11

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

“Are there any questions?”

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, book cover

12

Legend

Marie Lu

“We lie there together, watching the lightning and listening to the thunder, and waiting for the beginning of a rainy dawn.”

Legend book cover

13

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

J.K. Rowling

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

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book cover

14

Animal Farm

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.”

Animal Farm by George Orwell Book Cover

15

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger

“He is coming, and I am here.”

The Time Traveler's Wife Book Cover
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Written By Eira Edwards

Eira is a writer and editor from the South of England with over five years of experience as a Content Manager, helping clients perfect their copy.

She has a degree in English Literature and Language, which she loves putting to work by working closely with fiction authors.

When she’s not working on manuscripts, you can find her in the woods with her partner and dog, or curling up with a good book.

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