I could apologize (again) for going so long between posts, but instead I’ll simply thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin. And I trust you will be glad to know I’ve been hard at work finishing my current novel, entitled The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. It’s a Persuasion tie-in with Jane Austen herself as the heroine telling her own story of lost love and second (and maybe third!) chances, which, according to my theory, she pays homage to in her final novel. (see Work-In-Progress)
So, I typed those last two words a couple of days ago, and it felt great. I have enjoyed every minute spent writing this book, but it was gratifying to finally get to the end. Progress had been slow, due to other demands on my time, and there’s always that nagging worry that the story won’t come together in the end. It’s a real danger since I don’t plot the entire book out in advance. Things turned out well, however. Now, there will be a couple months’ worth of rewrites and editing, which I won’t mind. I’m not quite ready to let go of this one yet.
Anyway, I announced the book’s completion by sharing the above photo on Facebook. At the same time, I somewhat inadvertently shared the final line of the book as well. In case you can’t make it out, it says:
Without another word, I lay aside my work and allow Philippe to lead me inside through the cinnamon-colored velvet curtains.
This drew a few comments, and it got me thinking about last lines in general.
Much is made of first lines of books (“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” “Call me Ishmael.” “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”) – how important they are in grabbing the reader’s interest, and so forth. I wrote a post about that sometime back ( Prize First Lines), which includes a fun montage of Jane Austen’s first lines.
But what about final lines, I wondered? That could be interesting. Turns out I already wrote a post about that too, almost four years ago, complete with a quiz to see if you can identify JA’s last lines, which I have cleverly disguised by changing names, etc. to throw you off the scent. It’s good for a giggle. (I got to read it and be entertained all over again – the advantage of a short memory.)
So instead I went looking through my bookshelves to see if I could find any other interesting last lines. Here’s a sampling of the ones I liked best, beginning with one of my own (Of course I like it, or I would have written something else, right?):
He tugged his wife a bit closer; the music of the opening dance began; and with its heady strains, they moved off together as one. – Return to Longbourn, Shannon Winslow
But they value it all at nothing beside the discovery which gives them happiness: that the wise make of their mistakes a ladder, the foolish a grave. - The Hungry Heart, David Graham Phillips
Should we tell her about it? Now what should we do? What would you do if your mother asked you? – The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
“We could have had such a damned good time together.”… “Yes. Isn’t it pretty to think so?” - The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
For never was a story of more woe than is of Juliet and her Romeo. - Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
Do you think last lines are important? Why or why not? Do you have a personal favorite of your own?
I will leave you with a picture of spring and your Jane Austen quote for the day. It’s taken from one of her lesser works – Lady Susan – and, according to the theme, it’s the last line.
I confess that I can pity only Miss Manwaring, who coming to town and putting herself to an expense in clothes, which impoverished her for two years, on purpose to secure him, was defrauded of her due by a woman ten years older than herself.