Monday, February 06, 2006

Best opening lines

The best opening lines to novels according to Litline. The list is here.

The best opening line to a novel, which is not on the list is "And a shot rang out" Kingsley Amis thought so, and said he would never read another book that did not open in this fashion.

Some of the best, are here, underneath these words:

A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)

The moment one learns English, complications set in. —Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)

It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. —L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. —Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)

I couldn't get to grips with Pynchon. I had to give up, great first line or not. The rest was just annoying.
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