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Thirteen last words (how many do you know?)

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Books

One of the most famous last lines in literary history is:So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

But how many others do you know?

For today’s Thursday Thirteen I’m doing something a little different, something a little fun, something that will test your literary knowledge and make you both think and smirk in equal measure.

Listed below are thirteen famous closing lines from thirteen (very) famous books…all you have to do is work out which novel each line comes from. Simple, eh? :)

1. “He might wish and wish and never get it – the beauty and the loving in the world!”

2. “Her work was done.”

3. “It is a different tale altogether, and if it all goes well, I may have a shot at telling it one of these days,”

4. “I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.”

5. “His own words are a pledge of this:- “My Master,” he says, “has forewarned me.  Daily he announces more distinctly,–‘Surely I come quickly!’ and hourly I more eagerly respond,–‘Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus!'”

6. “And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.”

7. “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before,”

8. “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.”

9. “O God – please give him back! I shall keep asking You.”

10. “I thought of Ashley, on the other side of that ocean, and wondered what she was doing right now, and hoped that she was well, and happy, and maybe thinking of me, and then I just stood there, grinning like a fool, and took a deep, deep breath of that sharp, smoke scented air and raised my arms to the open sky, and said, ‘Ha!'”

11. “No glot…C’lom Fliday”

12. “Taking the pigtail in one of his paws, he pressed it warmly to his wet moustache.”

13. “Are there any questions?”

So, how many do you know? Let me know in the comments field below and be sure to share your own favourite last lines :)

Note: for your information, two of my personal favourites are lines (6) and (10).

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4 thoughts on “Thirteen last words (how many do you know?)

  1. Yikes, I don’t know a one!

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  2. I don’t think I know any of them :(

    The last line in my current book is: “I hear,” I said.

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  3. Zero, zilch, nada…that’s how many I know :D

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  4. Wow. Not even (4)?

    Okay, so the fact my awesome readers don’t know what number (4) is actually fills me with pride.

    But I didn’t want people to not know any of them so I’ll give some clues:

    (1) A classic of English litereature that has been adapted several times for the screen, most recently in 2002 starring Damian Lewis (Homeland), Rupert Graves (Sherlock) and Gina McKee (The Borgias).

    (2) The greatest retelling of one of the greatest known series of legends in the history of the world. It’s probably the greatest retelling because unlike all the others, it was told from the female perspective.

    (3) This line was written by the greatest children’s author of all time (IMHO) and is from one of the few books he wrote that he also wrote a sequel for.

    (4) [Seriously? No-one knows this? LOL. Sorry, I’m supposed to be giving a clue…] The series it is from has sold over 60 million copies worldwide and set the record for the fastest selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series. It is also contains some of the worst writing ever committed to the printed page and should be avoided at all costs! [I love that none of you know this :p]

    (5) I can’t, I’m sorry. I cannot give a clue to this as it’s one of the most famous novels in the history of the world and I’m amazed that no-one knows what this this.

    (6) The opening line is: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”…and if you’re still not sure: think modern classic, think one of my favourite books, think one of my favourite Hitchcock films and a book that you really (really) should be reading.

    (7) Okay, this one was a little tricky as it’s from the final book of a very famous series of novels that most people don’t read as they’re too busy focussed on the most well known book of the series that contains beavers, statues, a lamp post and Father Christmas.

    (8) Philip Seymour Hoffman played the author in a highly acclaimed movie titled after the author.

    (9) Okay, probably the hardest on the list so I’ll forgive people for not knowing this. The book regularly utilises CAPITOL LETTERS to illustrate speech and most copies (my own included) has an armadillo on the front cover.

    (10) The opening line of the novel is: “It was the day my grandmother exploded”…and if you’re still not sure: think modern Scottish classic, think one of my favourite books, think ‘murder’ (but not that sort of murder, the other sort :p)

    (11) David Cronenberg (sortof) adapted this novel into a film starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis and Ian Holm. I say sortof as it was less an adpatation, more a biography of the author and his drug-induced writing process.

    (12) This book was published in 1980, eleven years after the author’s suicide, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize posthumously for this contemporary Southern classic.

    (13) A dystopian novel and a work of speculative fiction from a very famous Canadian author. The novel explores themes of women in subjucation and the various ways by which they gain agency. Still not sure? How about if I mention the Republic of Gilead?

    And if people still don’t recognise any, I’ll post the answers over the weekend to put everyone out of their misery :)

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