There are many reasons why books end up becoming classics. Universal themes, unforgettable characters, or often they reflect the times in which they are published perfectly. A classic novel has the power to inspire and influence its readers for decades, sometimes even centuries. While many lists argue over which novels should be included as 'the greatest ever,' the number of which manage to open or close with perfect lines is far smaller.
It's a tricky thing for an author to do, to capture the book's spirit in its opening or closing moments, but the books we've included below have done just that. How many have you read?
Book: ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath, originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas” in the UK. It wasn’t released in the US until 1971 as Plath’s mother didn’t want people to recognize themselves in its pages.
Book: ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ by Carson McCullers
After the runaway success of her debut novel, McCullers eventually took an apartment in a Victorian house in Brooklyn Heights shared by other prominent writers and artists like Salvador Dali.
Book: ‘Back When We Were Grownups’ by Anne Tyler
A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, author Anne Tyler has published 23 novels as of 2021, the first being 'If Morning Ever Comes' in 1964, aged just 22.
Book: ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J. D. Salinger
Since its publication, the novel has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide, with around 685 copies a day still being sold.
Book: 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood' by Rebecca Wells
Siddalee's conclusion on her past through pain and heartache was summed up in a bitter-sweet sentence to conclude this book.
Book: 'Brokeback Mountain' by Annie Proulx
Brokeback Mountain's complicated love story between two midwestern men ends with a heartbreaking yet accepting tone, a poignant last line for sure.