The top ten: Last sentences of novels
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 13 April 2014
My esteemed colleague Guy Keleny had no suggestions for First Sentences, which we did on 3 March, but said he liked the last line of 'The Lord of the Rings'. Single, complete sentences with a 140-character limit turned out to be quite restrictive, but, with the usual warning about spoilers, here we go…
1. 'Well, I'm back' The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Nominated by Guy Keleny.
2. 'It could be that the sort of sentence one wants right here is the kind that runs, and laughs, and slides, and stops right on a dime' Speedboat by Renata Adler. From Matthew Hoffman.
3. 'After all, tomorrow is another day' Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
4. 'Ever drifting down the stream—/ Lingering in the golden gleam— / Life, what is it but a dream?' Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. Nominated by Matthew Hoffman.
5. 'He passed on unsuspected and deadly, like a pest in the street full of men' The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. Selected by Terry Stiastny.
6. 'So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past' The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. From Alan Beattie.
7. 'Just watch me' The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. Chosen by Diane Sinclair.
8. 'There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind' So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams. Nominated by Mike Mason.
9. 'She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life' The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. From Will Brett.
10. 'You could see a long way – but not as far as Velma had gone' Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. Selected by Tony Valsamidis.
Next week: Malapropisms.
Coming soon: Surprisingly unrelated pairs of words (such as male, female). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to email@example.com
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 5 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Loose Women poll asking if rape is 'ever a woman's fault' sparks backlash
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up