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Great first lines

(26 Posts)
onlyslightlyinterested Mon 18-Jul-16 11:25:31

Do you have a favourite first line from a book? Mine is from the Crow Road. 'It was the day, my Grandmother exploded.....' brilliant

CoteDAzur Mon 18-Jul-16 21:48:58

"The moon blew up with no warning and for no apparent reason" (Seveneves by Neal Stephenson)

“Apocalypse. A disquieting feature of this annual exhibition — to which the patients themselves were not invited — was the marked preoccupation of the paintings with the theme of world cataclysm, as if these long-incarcerated patients had sensed some seismic upheaval within the minds of their doctors and nurses.” (The Atrocity Exhibition by J G Ballard)

HopeClearwater Mon 25-Jul-16 23:30:15

'The primroses were over.' Watership Down.

cdtaylornats Tue 26-Jul-16 22:17:41

"The door dilated" - Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein, three words that tell you immediately your in a different world.

PartiallyStars Tue 26-Jul-16 22:22:17

In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.

It's my favourite because The Hobbit was one of a few books I remember on our Welsh dresser as a child. I remember picking it up a few times as a young child, reading that intriguing first line and trying to continue, but not being able to -then one day I could and it all unfolded in front of me.

Funnily enough the exact same situation with the exact same book is described in The Child That Books Built but it honest truly happened to me as well!

tobee Wed 27-Jul-16 16:46:29

Can't get much better than "Call me Ishmael " or "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". And I remember being astounded that a book for grown ups could start "Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road".

Some of my favourites:

Pride and Prejudice - It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

King's Dark Tower - The man in black fled through the desert and the gunslinger followed.

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

Lolita - Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Chikara Fri 29-Jul-16 23:28:41

The Catcher in the Rye: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

Read this at school and it was so totally unexpected that I knew I was going to love the book. Must have been early/mid-teens when I read it.

Chikara Fri 29-Jul-16 23:30:21

Remus -love the ones you have posted.

Chikara smile

I think the first line of, 'Catcher in the Rye' is excellent. Unfortunately, I don't think the novel itself is much cop.

Chikara Fri 29-Jul-16 23:42:06

Agree - but it was when I read it as a kid. Re-read it as an adult in a different time and could see it's flaws.


(See my name)

I prefer, 'Franny and Zooey'.

BikeRunSki Fri 29-Jul-16 23:46:28

I opened this thread to quote The Crow Road!

I am also rather fond of "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently over there" - The Go Between, LP Harltley.

'Northanger Abbey' great too, especially if the second sentence is allowed as well as the first.

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome.

'Though his name was Richard' is Jane at her best!

RhuBarbarella Mon 01-Aug-16 18:19:40

Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.
From 'the worst journey in the world'.
I have just finished this and cannot believe I'd missed this book up to now. It has been reviewed here a lot, comes up in loads of lists of great books and it really is just that: a great book. Loved it.

Clawdy Wed 03-Aug-16 16:06:02

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

onlyslightlyinterested Wed 03-Aug-16 21:22:14

The great fish moved silently through the night water.... gives me chills

nebulae Wed 03-Aug-16 22:38:39

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 03-Aug-16 22:42:18

It was love at first sight.

(Catch 22. Carries on with "The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain, he fell madly in love with him.")

RedMapleLeaf Thu 04-Aug-16 21:46:32

Oh nebulae ! I have just patiently read through the thread, with building excitement that I would be the one to post that! I love that line, says so much about our narrator.

ToffeeForEveryone Thu 04-Aug-16 21:53:13

Shadow War of the Night Dragons, John Scalzi smile

"Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal."

YvaineStormhold Thu 04-Aug-16 21:58:01

"His children were falling from the sky." Bring Up The Bodies.

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf." The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

YvaineStormhold Thu 04-Aug-16 22:01:25

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," Little Women.

"Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo." A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

YvaineStormhold Thu 04-Aug-16 22:04:08

"124 was spiteful" Beloved.

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more." The Haunting of Hill House.

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