World Book Day last week (6th March), got me thinking about my favourite opening lines. An opening line has been said to be one of the most difficult to write - some authors have created some very memorable lines...
My favourite lines do not all come from my favourite novels: there is a mix of favourites and not so favourites; but what they all have in common is an opening line that captured my interest in one way or another.
The opening line may have made me laugh, smile, or think 'eh?', but in all cases the line made me want to read on. I wasn't disappointed with any of the reads.
A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens
"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."
The only Dickens novel I actually enjoy. It is also holder of the best final line award.
Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
It's a truth that still holds true. ;)
Moby Dick. Herman Melville
"Call me Ishmael."
It was the only invitation I needed to read on.
The Metamorphosis and other stories. Franz Kafka.
"When Gregor Samson awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin."
This is going to be weird. It was. It was strange, sad, unsettling and eye-opening. A masterful short story.
The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde.
"The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn."
Beauty, natural beauty on a warm English summer day...idyll. I want to be in that room.
The Crow Road. Iain Banks.
"It was the day my grandmother exploded."
Dark humour leads one into even darker places.
1984. George Orwell.
"It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
ALL the clocks were striking thirteen, we are entering a chilly dystopia.
The Color Purple. Alice Walker.
"You better not never tell nobody but God."
You know that you are going to learn painful truths from here on in.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. C.S. Lewis.
"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
The 7-year-old me thought this was very amusing.
Lolita. Vladimir Nabakov.
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."
One of the most disturbing books I've ever read. Knowing the subject matter made the first line all the more sickening. What scared me most was that by mid-way through the novel I was sympathising with Humbert Humbert.