Somebody on AbsoluteWrite started a thread on "The 100 Best Last Lines of Novels" yesterday. I was thrilled to find there the last two lines of Lolita, my favorite book (yes, I have a single favorite...with many, many second-favorites that come very close to matching the magic of Lo).
I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.It got me to thinking with some surprise how much that image and those words have influenced my current WIP (Baptism for the Dead, that is, since I'm in the very new position right now of kind of having two WIPs going at once -- something I "never" do, except for when I do, apparently). The idea of two people forming a connection and creating a permanent relationship via art, even though the actual relationship itself will probably come to an end, is one of the more important themes in Baptism. I wonder, reading the last lines of Lolita, whether this idea was seeded in my mind by the brilliant closing of Nabokov's brilliant book, or whether I am merely noticing an interesting coincidence. I have read Lolita probably a dozen times throughout my life; I can recite the entire first chapter (it's a short one) from memory. Who knows.
Anyway, opening lines are often lauded, and with good reason, although I've never been one to flip right to the first page of a book to decide whether to buy it. I sample from the middle when test-driving books, and often read the last few paragraphs, too. Spoilers don't spoil it for me.
But closing lines are seldom discussed.
So I'm curious. What powerful opening and/or closing lines have made a big impression on you?
(Edited to add: I have officially reached my pinnacle on the internets. I cannot possibly top this.)