Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great first sentences

Call me Ishmael.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
—Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

It was a dark and stormy night...
Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

It was like so, but wasn't.
Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)

All this happened, more or less.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

They shoot the white girl first.
Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

and other 100 best first lines from novels, as decided by the American Book Review

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Bible

In the beginning there were the marsh, the hoe - and Jussi
Väinö Linna, Under the North Star

The First Chapter

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