Bookended by great lines…

People and quizzes often tend to concentrate on opening lines of books all the time.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

… from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier being, of course, an absolute classic.

But who knows the last line, which just so happens to be beautifully elegaic …

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


My favourites are not an obvious choice though – I’d like to introduce you to a pairing of opening and closing lines that tell you a lot about the novel in between them. It opens:

The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.

It is the first line of possibly the most fun series of novels ever written – Casino Royale by Ian Fleming; the 1953 novel that introduced us to James Bond. (Note the emphasis is on fun, not the greatest writing – although they are full of top notch quotes, and I am a huge fan.)

It features a rather different Bond to later incarnations. Here we see the moulding of him into the suave, chauvinistic, killer spy we grow to expect. He already has his licence to kill before this novel starts, but he was just a hitman from a distance. In Casino Royale it gets personal – partly with the infamous torture scene that threatens his potency, but the real catalyst is love.  Aah! He falls for Vesper Lynd big-time – he names a cocktail after her (Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.) Then she betrays him and dies and it is this that hardens his soul. The last line says it all…

Yes, dammit, I said “was”. The bitch is dead now.

Totally chauvinist and as un-PC as you can get – but a damn good read all the same. Can you suggest any more great bookending quotes? I’d love to hear them.

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