The American Book Review has come up with a list of the 100 best last lines of novels. (You can find the pdf file link here via The Utne Reader). The Great Gatsby is number three…which seems two places too low to me, but oh well. And probably my second favorite last line is from Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: “'Yes,' I said. ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’” (Number 6 on the list.) The weight of the whole book in those few perfect and precise words. That was one book that I read in college as an assignment, bored for most of it. But once I’d lived a little, I reread and thought it was brilliant.
Number 4, the end of Ulysses by James Joyce is pretty darn awesome too:
"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "
(Thanks to The Elegant Variation for the link.)