Pursuant to posts on “first words” and Charlotte Gray I am asking: What is your favourite “book end“: the end of a book. Mine is, has been and always will be the closing para’s of ”The Western Lands‘ by William Burroughs:
“I want to reach the Western Lands – right in front of you, across the bubbling brook. It’s a frozen sewer. It’s known as the Duad, remember? All the filth and horror, fear, hate, disease and death of human history flows bewteen you and the Western Lands. Let it flow! My cat Fletch stretches behind me on the bed. A tree like black lace against a gray sky. A flash of joy.
How long does it take for a man to learn that he does not, cannot want what he “wants”?
You have to be in Hell to see Heaven. Glimpses from the Land of the Dead, flashes of serene, timeless joy, a joy as old as suffering and despair.
The old writer couldn’t write anymore because he had reached the end of words, the end of what can be done with words. And then? “British we are, British we stay.” How long can one hang on in Gibraltar, with the tapestries where mustached riders with scimitars hunt tigers, the ivory balls one inside the other, bare seams showing, the long tearoom with mirrors on both sides and the tired fuschia and rubber plants, the shops selling English marmalade and Fortnum and Mason’s tea…clinging to their Rock like the apes, clinging always to less and less.
In Tangier the Parade Bar is closed. Shadows are falling on the Mountain.
“Hurry up, please. It’s time.“”
To me this is the perfection of Burroughs’ work in a few paras, everyword judged and despatched like his beloved bullets. He wrote too much at times, but here it is pared down and barely fleshed out. To me, all life is in these lines…
So what last lines and paragraphs slay you?