A blogger I followed for awhile posted his opinion about opening lines, closing lines, and titles and how important or unimportant they might be to the success of a story. He mentioned the closing line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby which is certainly a stunner and often both quoted and recognized without attribution. I also remember reading that Fitzgerald had about 8 titles he was trying to choose from before settling on The Great Gatsby. A young adult novel a read several years ago called Touching Spirit Bear as being one of the best beginnings I’d ever read. It truly hooked you, adult or student.
I’ve just finished reading The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent and I think that her ending ranks up there, if not equally with Fitzgerald’s ending, certainly close to it. This is how the book is closed on the incredibly ignominious chapter in American history of the Salem witch trials:
In full darkness I returned the diary to Father’s great chest and, in the years to follow, layered it over with stuff of the living. Quilts packed away in summer’s heat, linen outgrown by children, coarse cloth used for sacking and for shrouds. And always it was there, like a step-stone in a swift-moving river.
Appropriate and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the writing in this book immensely even if the topic at times was descriptive of the scenes and smells in what I think must be disgustingly accurate terms and at times, I was certain, would give me nightmares (although it hasn’t so far). I will post a full review of this historical fiction first novel by Ms. Kent in another day or two. As always, I like to digest it and mull it over a bit before recording my thoughts.