Monday, 2 August 2010


Here I am at Petworth House - pleased to be wearing my gorgeous Purple-Shoes-From-Paris. I've found another folly and am in reflective pose because my book is coming towards the end and I must deliver even more emotional punch.

I started thinking about famous endings to books and here is my favourite, from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.
(I'm delighted that he seems to love ellipses and dashes as much as I do - and it still makes me shiver whenever I read it).

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

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

So what ending to a book has marked itself indelibly on your mind?


  1. Great photo Sharon - folly's are fascinating!

    Endings. I've always thought the art form of a book is unlike any other in the fact that you are conscious all the way through exactly how far there is to go until the end. However, I read one book once which had 20 or so blank pages left so that the ending came as a complete and devasting jolt. Clever stuff

    Kyle x

  2. This is quite a challenging question for a Monday morning, so I limited it to the books that I've read in the last year or so. There are just too many great ending lines from the classics to choose from.

    I chose the last lines from Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge". Olive was uncoventional, outspoken and at times somewhat abrasive, but Olive knew how to live...on her terms.

    "Her eyes were closed, and throughout her tired self swept waves of gratitude - and regret. She pictured the sunny room, the sun-washed wall, the bayberry outside. It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet."

  3. Oh, just one? Well, it’s hard… but if I had to choose I’d say the ending lines from “The Lover”, written by the French writer Marguerite Duras, a masterpiece which awarded the 1984 Prix Goncourt.
    An autobiographical novel, about the writer’s youth in Indochina, in 1929... where, at 15, she had an all-consuming love affair with a 29 years old, wealthy Chinese man.
    One year later, they’ll end their relationship because of their social differences and forced by the Chinese man’s father, who wanted his son married to a wealthy Chinese woman.
    They won’t see each other anymore until that day, 50 years later, when Marguerite Duras is a famous novelist known in the whole world and she gets the famous phone call from the ancient, true love of her life.

    The excerpt:

    "Years after the war, after marriages, children, divorces, books, he came to Paris with his wife. He phoned her. It's me. She recognized him at once from the voice. He said, I just wanted to hear your voice. She said, it's me, hello. He was nervous, afraid, as before. His voice suddenly trembled. And with the trembling, suddenly, she heard again the voice of China. He knew she'd begun writing books, he'd heard about it through her mother whom he'd met again in Saigon. And about her younger brother, and he'd been grieved for her. Then he didn't know what to say. And then he told her. Told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he'd love her until death”.

    Duras, as Fitzgerald, loved elliptical writing and she was able to resume in few, powerful lines truly complex feelings.
    I love this kind of writing too and the talented authors which left us immortal words through their works.

  4. Fabulous examples....Dan, so POIGNANT!

    And Michela,,,,so SAD!

  5. A last sentence with a real punch: Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God:

    "Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."