20 Of The Best Opening Sentences In Literature
Franz Kafka once said “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that would stab or wound us…”, and some books do just that. From the very first line, they shove you rudely, and demand your attention. Great art demands a response, and as Susan Sontag once eschewed, “Literature is Dialogue; responsiveness.” From the soul stirring, to the aghast; from the poetic to the downright hilarious, these are 20 of the greatest opening sentence in Literature. 1. 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
- Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
- Happy families are all alike; unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.
- The sky above the port was the colour of television tuned to a dead channel –
- Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years, I trusted them, and found them to be trustworthy.
- “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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
- Saunders had been dead for over two weeks now, and so far, he hadn’t enjoyed a minute of it.
- When I was nine, I hid under the table, and heard my sister kill a king.
- It was inevitable: the smell of bitter almonds always reminded him of unrequited love.
- Not everybody knows how i killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar.
- it was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen
- The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.
- I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, without thinking.
- A green hunting cap squeezed the top of a fleshy balloon of a head.
- He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the gulf stream, and he had gone eighty fours days without taking a fish.
- When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart out of a fine spring afternoon. – James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss. I
- High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.