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What scene(s) in a novel emotionally effected you the Most?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

You can choose more than one, and please describe how it affected you.

 

One I remember so vividly was the scene in Dog Soldiers where Ray Hicks, a character based on Neal Cassady (whom the author knew personally), is walking along train tracks towards a location where he's to be picked-up by his friend Converse and his lover (and Converse's wife) Marge.  He's been critically injured from being shot.  As he walks he drifts in and out of consciousness and is in terrible pain.  He recalls some horrible events in his childhood, which explains why he is so defensive and so much of a hardass in much of the book. 

 

The poetry of the language Stone uses to construct this scene is some of the most beautiful writing I've yet read.  I felt so sympathetic for this character, who comes across as a very violent and explosive character earlier in the novel, that it brought tears to my eyes, and Hicks' horrible memories seemed to signify in my mind one thing which is so fucked up about life: how we "human beings" treat each other.

post #2 of 54

All the flashback's in James Grady's wonderful thriller Mad Dogs on how the characters lost their minds are horrible to witness, but the most horrific might be Eric's where he was in Iraq during Saddam's bloody reign working as an engineer when he's captured by the Iraq secret police where he's tortured for days until he finally breaks, and finds the only way he can fight back is total obedience, obeying every suggested command. All the rest of the characters may be able to find their way back, but poor, lovable and chubby Eric is broken beyond repair and his eventual fate with the one woman he loves, Hailey, is both sad and triumphant.

post #3 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Hughes View Post

All the flashback's in James Grady's wonderful thriller Mad Dogs on how the characters lost their minds are horrible to witness, but the most horrific might be Eric's where he was in Iraq during Saddam's bloody reign working as an engineer when he's captured by the Iraq secret police where he's tortured for days until he finally breaks, and finds the only way he can fight back is total obedience, obeying every suggested command. All the rest of the characters may be able to find their way back, but poor, lovable and chubby Eric is broken beyond repair and his eventual fate with the one woman he loves, Hailey, is both sad and triumphant.

 

   I'll have to check that out--never heard of it.

post #4 of 54
Yeah, one of the best in recent years.
post #5 of 54

The airport shoot-out in The Power of the Dog between two rival cartels rivals the one in Heat in scope and size, except it ends in the targeted murder of one of the only truly decent people in the book and that death changes everything for the rest of the book.

 

Also, earlier, Miguel and Fabian target the head of another cartel, over a woman no less, and the end on the bridge with her two young innocent children shows you just how far Winslow is willing to go in showing you how bloody and high the stakes are in this world.


Edited by Cameron Hughes - 11/18/12 at 7:13pm
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

Yeah, one of the best in recent years.

 

Also great is that it takes place in the same universe as Six Days of the Condor (Often considered the first and most realistic CIA thriller)and it shows you the ultimate fate of that protagonist, Malcolm.

 

It's also really very funny. And sad in how it shows how the spy life destroys people so thoroughly. Every flashback is more horrifying than the last.

post #7 of 54
Grady was like 25 when he wrote Six Days of the Condor.
post #8 of 54

In William Lashner's excellent Falls The Shadow, normally selfish Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl is forced by a judge to represent a 4 year old pro bono who might be mistreated. His relationship with the kid grows until one day he's out with the kid and the mother at a park and accidentally sees evidence of abuse, burns the size of cigarettes on the kid's arm. That one revelation changes everything in the book and Victor fights harder than ever to get the kid safe. It's a wonderfully written legal thriller.
 

And do I even have to write about the ending of Andrew Vacchs's Blue Belle? Belle would have been a character so easy to fuck up, but Vacchs takes her seriously and she's a great character and her relationship with Burke feels so real.

 

American Tabloid: You know it's coming, but besides it being tragic, the assassination of JFK ensures the damnation of so many characters.

 

The Lincoln Lawyer: Mickey wins, but it comes at a price.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The man who takes the fall for the murder Roulet did gets to go free, but caught AIDS in prison.

Edit: Got the spoiler tag working.


Edited by Cameron Hughes - 11/18/12 at 7:56pm
post #9 of 54

Huh, I can't seem to get the spoiler tag for the Lincoln Lawyer to work.

post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

Grady was like 25 when he wrote Six Days of the Condor.


Yeah, that's kind of incredible. It was so dark, mature, and real.

 

And his daughter directed one of the scariest documentaries I've ever seen, Jesus Camp

 

post #11 of 54

There's a bit in William Goldman's Soldier in the Rain where the protagonist (who's in the Army) finds out his dog died. Really got to me.

 

I also remember a bit from Joseph Wambaugh's The Choirboys (way better than the awful movie) where a child is murdered and one of the cops describes how the killer must have found the kid hiding under his bed and just reached under the bed and slashed him to death. The cop breaks down and says "There ain't no God. I swear there ain't."

 

Pet Sematary is pretty brutal all around, filled with loss and mourning and general awareness of death, but the real kick in the balls has to be "But none of that really happened" and what follows, until Louis snaps out of it.

post #12 of 54

In Don Winslow's The Dawn Patrol, Winslow writes the final showdown between Boone and the bad guy as an old-fashioned fistfight, like it's a 70's movie, but intercut with that, Sunny Day is riding the big swell for a chance for surf sponsors to notice her skills on a board and make her hobby into a career. Both are great, but it's a testament to his skill that the surfing is just as tense as the big fight. Doing two different scenes at the same time and making both equally nail-biting is quite the feat and Winslow pulls it off in spades.

 

At the end of Winslow's The Winter of Frankie Machine, Frankie is facing the bad guys, hugs his daughter and whispers "Don't worry baby, they can't kill me. I'm Frankie The Machine." I've read the book twice and got chills every time. I can't wait for it to be a movie, it'll be instantly iconic if De Niro or Jeff Bridges or some other great actor getting up there in years says that line.

 

And, of course, the ending of Savages. Don't anyone spoil it, but if you read the book, you know it's great. Tragic but beautiful, the only way the story could end. (Really, fuck Oliver Stone for ruining that.)

 

In the middle of John Connolly's The Killing Kind, protagonist Charlie Parker, while sitting in the kitchen with his girlfriend, decides he doesn't want to drink anymore and finally admits to himself that the murder of his family wasn't his fault and he would have died too if he had been there.

 

Lamb by Christopher Moore: Jesus is on the cross. I had been a Christian for a couple years when I read the book and while Jesus getting killed was a bad thing and got a bum deal to me, it never really hit me until I read that book and saw it through the eyes of Jesus's best friend who tries everything to save him. I was actually sobbing the first time I read it. I'm not much of a Christian anymore, but admire Jesus's teachings about just being decent to your fellow man and Lamb made Him human to me.

 

C'mon guys, play the game with me and Dave. It's fun. And it's convinced me to finally get off my ass and read Dog Soldiers. David Corbett loves that book too.

post #13 of 54

The ending of The Road. Made me cry. I to tell my wife to leave me alone. Went and poured a big bourbon on the rocks and just sat there for awhile.

post #14 of 54

The Whale falling scene in Hitchiker's had the exact opposite effect but still left me in tears. I don't think I have ever laughed harder at a book or scene.

post #15 of 54

The entire last 20-30 pages of THE DEAD ZONE, particularly the letter Johnny writes to his father and the postscript with Sarah at the graveyard.     

post #16 of 54

Two scenes in The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas

 

The "going to the shower" scene was just horrible.  I kept waiting and waiting for the reprieve.

 

And then the father finding the clothes and putting two and two together.  I'd become a father myself when I read it, and that just broke me.  Harrowing stuff.

 

The end of the Sunlight Gardner home bit in the Talisman, specifically the moments between Jack and Wolf.  Heartbreaking.  Especially when you tie in how Jack was losing patience with hima  couple of chapters before, and even thought about abandoning him.

 

The only punch the air "fuck yeah" moment I've had in any form of literature was in Kingdom Come.  Specifically when things are going hugely wrong for the Justice League.  Turn the page and there's the Bat and an army of quiet Bat people.  I quite literally punched the air, it was that good. 

 

For sheer "I can't believe that just happened" was in one of the Game of Thrones books (FOR GODS SAKE DON'T READ THIS IF YOU ARE WATCHING THE SERIES BUT NOT READ THE BOOKS).

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

In Storm of Swords.  The Red Wedding.  Even in a spoiler I want to stay spoiler free.  But I honestly had to read that scene about four times, I was sure I must have missed something that "saved the day" for certain characters.

post #17 of 54
Thread Starter 

I just watched Savages again.  I was fairly OK with the altered ending when I saw it in the theater but upon seeing it again, I really think it diminishes the film.  So stupid.  I can't imagine what Stone was thinking.

post #18 of 54
Thread Starter 

Travis losing Gretel in the beginning of The Green Ripper is so eloquent and heart wrenching.  When I lost a beloved pet years ago I re-read the passages where Trav mourns his soul-mate and I found it helped.  The ending of Silver is also very emotional.  You get the feeling you've been on this incredible tour of adventures and emotional highs and lows with Trav and Meyer, and the ending is just so damn beautiful.  I can't think of any long-running series that ended on such a wonderful note.

 

Also, Burke losing Pansy caused a lump in my throat.  If you're the type of person who really loves animals (as I am) and get attached to your pets like they're family, you'll know how sad that scene is, and how marvelous the scene where Burke encounters the guy responsible for Pansy's death was-- I so loved when Burke shot that dude point blank in the face, no mercy whatsoever.  One of the best moments in the series.   

post #19 of 54

Richard Matheson uses the first half of I AM LEGEND to paint a picture of Robert Neville, the last man on earth who has lost everything he loves. One day Neville sees a little dog in the ruins. Neville gives the dog food and eventually wins its trust. I remember reading the book on a train and that passage making me tear up.

post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Two scenes in The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas

 

The "going to the shower" scene was just horrible.  I kept waiting and waiting for the reprieve.

 

And then the father finding the clothes and putting two and two together.  I'd become a father myself when I read it, and that just broke me.  Harrowing stuff.

 

 

Is it the same ending as in the movie? Because I haven't read the book, but thought the movie's end was so on-the-nose as to be hilarious.

post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post

Richard Matheson uses the first half of I AM LEGEND to paint a picture of Robert Neville, the last man on earth who has lost everything he loves. One day Neville sees a little dog in the ruins. Neville gives the dog food and eventually wins its trust. I remember reading the book on a train and that passage making me tear up.

 

The end of that particular relationship made a mess out of me for a couple of days.

 

But, I said it before and I'll say it again, Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door was one of the two things that absolutely broke me irrevocably. It wasn't even a single scene though several come to mind that got me close to a panic attack. And knowing it's based on a true story? That book and another thing that happened, strangely enough, near that time literally changed the way I feel about the world. They made the world a much darker, much more sinister place. I can honestly say my life got worse since.

post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey Moore View Post

The Whale falling scene in Hitchiker's had the exact opposite effect but still left me in tears. I don't think I have ever laughed harder at a book or scene.

 

I always remember the two armies that attack Earth but "due to a gross miscalculation in scale" are swallowed by a small dog.

 

I'm not sure if this counts as it's a) graphic and b) biographical but in Maus, Vladek describes how when bodies were being burnt in the pits Auschwitz some prisoner simply gave up and leapt into the fire. I honestly exploded into tears.

post #23 of 54

In the Deathly Hallows right after Dobby the house elf is killed Harry starts to dig his grave.No magic no tools just his own hands.
 

post #24 of 54

From Pratchett's Discworld series, quite a few moments have gotten to me:

 

-Death's speech about humans needing to believe in myths and fairy tales to Susan knocked me out for a few moments.

-Sam Vimes realization when he's offered a chance to become Commander of the city watch while stuck in the past; his thirst for justice and changing the past for a better future slowly get replaced by the need to go home to his wife and family...and then he realizes he didnt think of her until then.

-Rincewind sacrifices himself to save the world from Coin's Sourceror powers gone haywire; his speech to Coin is absolutely fantastic, and serves to remind how great of a hero the coward, selfish Rincewind is.

-Twoflower confronts Lord Hong over the killing of his wife.

 

The Road also got me, as did the ending of Focaults pendulum and In the name of the rose; pure shock and awe in those three cases.

post #25 of 54

The ending of Pickman's Model scared the you know what out of me.

 

The fate of the sister in We Need to Talk About Kevin . A gut punch.

post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey Moore View Post

The Whale falling scene in Hitchiker's had the exact opposite effect but still left me in tears. I don't think I have ever laughed harder at a book or scene.

 

As funny as that was, it was the bowl of petunias that absolutely killed me.  'Oh no, not again'.

post #27 of 54

The arguments in Revolutionary Road still resonate with me every time I think about them. And then I also get emotionally effected when I think about how poorly the film handled them all. Emotions abound! 

post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post

The arguments in Revolutionary Road still resonate with me every time I think about them. And then I also get emotionally effected when I think about how poorly the film handled them all. Emotions abound! 

 

You mean those passages aren't written ALL IN CAPS WHERE EVERYONE IS SCREAMING like the screenplay apparently was?

post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evi View Post

 

Is it the same ending as in the movie? Because I haven't read the book, but thought the movie's end was so on-the-nose as to be hilarious.

 

Haven't seen the movie, but just done a wikipedia and no, it's different.

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

In the book it's an epilogue.  They spend literally months trying to find Bruno even though soldiers had found his clothes near the fence  They even go back to Berlin, thinking he may have gotten on a train and gone there.  But he's not.  The mother and daughter then move back to Berlin.  The dad keeps going back to the fence, then one day discovers that it's not properly secured and someone could have climbed under.  He puts two and two together and this forces the realisation of everything he's actually been doing at the camp.  He basically loses the plot, starts to get drunk and talk about the regime being wrong.  When the Russians arrive to "liberate" the camp he goes off with them without complaint, because he feels he deserves whatever is coming to him.

post #30 of 54

The ending to The Black Dahlia. The nature of this crime leads the two main characters down a thoroughly disturbing path and when Ellroy finally arrives at the conclusion of why this woman was murdered in such a horrific fashion, he paints a gruesome disturbing picture of her final hours. I still get chills thinking about the ending to that book.

 

Dusty's fake prom in Megan Abbott's The End of Everything was a perfect snapshot of a father and his daughter putting aside their suffering and enjoying a small moment of happiness, the father watching his daughter walk down the stairs before heading to the prom is a proud moment for any father but here, it's a symbolic gesture of a daughter's love for her father and vice versa. It's the one beautiful moment in a book where moments like that are rare.

post #31 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanW View Post

The ending to The Black Dahlia. The nature of this crime leads the two main characters down a thoroughly disturbing path and when Ellroy finally arrives at the conclusion of why this woman was murdered in such a horrific fashion, he paints a gruesome disturbing picture of her final hours. I still get chills thinking about the ending to that book.

 

Dusty's fake prom in Megan Abbott's The End of Everything was a perfect snapshot of a father and his daughter putting aside their suffering and enjoying a small moment of happiness, the father watching his daughter walk down the stairs before heading to the prom is a proud moment for any father but here, it's a symbolic gesture of a daughter's love for her father and vice versa. It's the one beautiful moment in a book where moments like that are rare.

 

   The Black Dahlia was at one time linked to a rash of slayings were the victims were chopped up and their bodies were arranged in odd configurations.  Max Allan Collins wrote about this but I can't remember the book, I believe it was one of his Nate Heller books.  There was a string of very similar crimes in the Cleveland area around the same time period.

post #32 of 54

The Subtle Knife.

 

Lee Scorseby's last stand. Partly just because he's the most entertaining character in the series and it's a shame to lose him. Partly because it's the classic redemption-of-a-scoundrel scenario. But mostly because we realize that Hester knows, and understands, and accepts that this means her end as well, because she's a part of him.

 

And now I gotta go.


Edited by Hammerhead - 12/30/12 at 11:06pm
post #33 of 54

Cried like a baby at the end of Of Mice and Men.

post #34 of 54
Thread Starter 

Definitely concur with the Of Mice and Men sentiment.  Although I never read the book, I saw at least three film adaptations: The Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr. one, the Robert Blake and Randy Quaid one and the Gary Sinise and John Malkovich one.

post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgardevice View Post

Cried like a baby at the end of Of Mice and Men.

Oh my, YES.

post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgardevice View Post

Cried like a baby at the end of Of Mice and Men.

Yep, that a is a great one, also the final scene of the Grapes of Wrath.

 

The trial scene in The Magus.

 

The short story Guts by Chuck Palahniuk is sure to provoke a visceral reaction...its only like 7-10 pages but I used to get coworkers to read it just to see their horrified reaction.

 

Nurse Ratchet's dressing down of Billy(I think that is his name, memory sucks in your 40's)  in Cuckoo's Nest.

 

The scene were the aristocrats are playing the phonograph at the wrong speed in Madame Bovary was one of the best statements on class I have ever encountered.

 

The scene where Bilbo volunteers to take the ring to Mount Doom in Rivendell (so bummed Jackson left it out, but I understand why).

 

The Grand Inquisitor in Karamazov.

 

Ender's fight in the shower.

 

The description of Bokkonism in Cat's Cradle.....also wins for best quote in relation to the title "aint no fucking cat, aint no fucking cradle.

 

ok I will stop now....but I may be back later....

post #37 of 54

Primal Fear by William Diehl. The last chapter changes the whole damn book for a character. I'm not going into specifics but after I finished reading it I had to throw the book across the room because I was so pissed off at the author! He'd suckered me in totally. One of the finest moments I've ever had in reading something and it can't be repeating without going in cold.

 

For pure emotional wallop The Art of Racing in the Rain is a goody as well. Weird POV from the narrator and his total lack pathos or emotion about dying sells the character so well. Just really well done.

post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimwit View Post

Primal Fear by William Diehl. The last chapter changes the whole damn book for a character. I'm not going into specifics but after I finished reading it I had to throw the book across the room because I was so pissed off at the author! He'd suckered me in totally. One of the finest moments I've ever had in reading something and it can't be repeating without going in cold.

 

 

Is this the one the Richard Gere movie is based on? If so, I can see the twist being a gut punch.

post #39 of 54

Yep. Never have seen the movie, no need since the book is perfect.

post #40 of 54

Pretty sure I'm alone in this since, for some reason, lots of folks hate the book, but Susan Delgado getting burned on a Charyou Tree in Wizard and Glass, and the angry mob quietly realizing what they've done after wrecked me for a few days.

post #41 of 54

A bit obvious, but I love Lecter's escape in Silence of the Lambs. All through the book he's lulled you with his intellect and charm and you're distracted by the horrible Buffalo Bill and the security at the prison is pretty good, so when it happens, the attack is sudden, surprising, and viciously and animalistically feral and you realize, finally, though trapped, Hannibal the Cannibal was the one you should have been worried about the whole time.

post #42 of 54

One I can remember off hand is The Road;  at -that- point when what happens, technically speaking, is you're no longer getting the perspective of one of the characters anymore, it's shocking.  There's that poetic and dreamy quality to McCarthy's prose which seems a little distancing in some ways and I hadn't realised I was as involved as I obviously was (there's no real plot per se. It's a sort of doomed travellogue more than anything.  Plus it's quite abstract in its treatment of the characters; no names etc).  But then -bam-, something you've known for a while was probably going to happen...happens and it's like the world has gone dark (dark-er, in this case).  I hadn't really noticed who it was you were living through and then suddenly its gone and there's just awful emptiness (The text doesn't really skip a beat or rev this up in any way.  It's a literary flick of the wrist).

post #43 of 54

When Oy said bye to Jake. I cried like a baby every time I thought of it for a while afterwards. Just how simple it was, you know?

post #44 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elle Em in Opie- Que Are Ess? View Post

When Oy said bye to Jake. I cried like a baby every time I thought of it for a while afterwards. Just how simple it was, you know?

I didn't cry, but Jake's death hit me pretty hard.

post #45 of 54
Thread Starter 

Wow--lots of great book leads to check out!;-)

post #46 of 54

First two that come to mind are books likely not read by anyone here - especially the second.

 

Weepy scene one: in Stephen R Donaldson's The Wounded Land, the protagonist anti-hero Thomas Covenant, leper and horribly broken man, performs an act of healing on the long dead and still haunted that makes me weep every time I read it. I could describe the scene, but its impact is from events from the three preceding books. Suffice it to say Covenant anneals grief and pain that had been reverberating for thousands of years, while unable to heal himself at all. It's both heartbreaking and triumphant.

 

Weepy scene two: At the end of Elegy Beach by Steven R Boyett, Pete Garey saying goodbye to Ariel, a unicorn. I know, I know. It sounds horrible and maudlin and the worst of fantasy tropes. It's not. 

 

By the by, if you really dig post-apocalyptic stories and/or like fantasy with a lot of modernism injected, run, don't walk, to order Boyett's two books Ariel and Elegy Beach. Both are fantastic, and manage to be epic and personal, and celebrate the fantasy genre while also doing a good bit to deconstruct it.

post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratty View Post

The entire last 20-30 pages of THE DEAD ZONE, particularly the letter Johnny writes to his father and the postscript with Sarah at the graveyard.     

 

Oh hell yes.  That letter was devastating to me.

 

Another scene in a novel that has effected me was the chapter in Joshua Ferris' "Then We Came to an End" that follows the female office boss when she discovers she has cancer.  It's such a change-up from the rest of the novel that it completely caught me by surprise.  I remember reading it while I was on my lunch break at work and I damn near started getting teary-eyed.  It's been a few years since I read it, but if I remember correctly the boss' story becomes even sadder when the normal narrative of the novel picks back up and no one in the office realizes what happened to her.

post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post

First two that come to mind are books likely not read by anyone here - especially the second.

 

Weepy scene one: in Stephen R Donaldson's The Wounded Land, the protagonist anti-hero Thomas Covenant, leper and horribly broken man, performs an act of healing on the long dead and still haunted that makes me weep every time I read it. I could describe the scene, but its impact is from events from the three preceding books. Suffice it to say Covenant anneals grief and pain that had been reverberating for thousands of years, while unable to heal himself at all. It's both heartbreaking and triumphant.

 

Weepy scene two: At the end of Elegy Beach by Steven R Boyett, Pete Garey saying goodbye to Ariel, a unicorn. I know, I know. It sounds horrible and maudlin and the worst of fantasy tropes. It's not. 

 

By the by, if you really dig post-apocalyptic stories and/or like fantasy with a lot of modernism injected, run, don't walk, to order Boyett's two books Ariel and Elegy Beach. Both are fantastic, and manage to be epic and personal, and celebrate the fantasy genre while also doing a good bit to deconstruct it.

 

   I liked The Road.  Didn't know there was a whole sub-genre of post-apocalyptic novels out there. 

post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave618 View Post

   I liked The Road.  Didn't know there was a whole sub-genre of post-apocalyptic novels out there. 

 

There are. The Road, for certain, is near the top of the heap. But there are other good stories in the genre. (I know of at least one anthology devoted to post-apocalyptic stories, too.)

post #50 of 54

Last few lines of Jacob's Room.

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