What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?
I’m not really one for memorizing lines to books or movies, other than “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Even there I only know the first 12 words, and that sentence goes on for a paragraph. I don’t believe that I’ve ever liked a book primarily for its first line (if you open strong and then blow it, you’ve still blown it) or one that I remember because of the first line. However, I think that opening lines can be crucial to setting the tone of the book. Consider the opening lines of these two books:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transfomed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
Quick! Tell me which one is from “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen and which is “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. Also, tell me which book is totally bizarre and which is often cited as an early example of chick lit. The essence of those two books are largely expressed in those very first lines but luckily both authors were skilled enough to take that essence and expand it into a very compelling story.
What are your feelings about first lines? Do you have some favorites? Good examples of first lines that really set the tone for the book?
Don’t forget to check out my GIVEAWAY of Doreen Orion’s Book “Queen of the Road”
Also check out my post about Maw Books’ Very Important Contest