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First lines of novels

G strained his back at work last week. Yesterday it snowed. So much for the plans to go and view the bulb fields in the Skagit Valley.

It did give me time to catch up on reading my favorite blogs. It started with Sandra blogging "It was the day my grandmother exploded" . What a great opening line. She was looking for the opening line of 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." This single line says so much. She went on to blog about several of her favorite opening lines.

Next to get caught in the web of opening lines was Andasamo. She brought in more great lines such as excellent opening lines from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And also some killer pictures of bookcases. My bookcases are boring. One is fulled of travel books and the other is filled with plant books. Novels get put away in boxes.

Annie continue the meme and gave us more great opening lines. She has included several of my favorite authors such as Tom Robbins and Jim Harrison.

I was intrigued and googled some of my favorite books. Here are a the first lines of few of my favorite books.

"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress."
George Eliot

"My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip."
Charles Dickens
Great Expectations

"She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance."
Michael Ondaatje
The English Patient

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar

"Dr. Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse."
Louis de Bernières
Captain Corelli's Mandolin

"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills."
Isak Dinesen
Out of Africa

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

A squat grey building of only thirty-four storeys. Over the main entrance the words “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” and, in a shield, the World State's Motto: “Community, Identity, Stability”.
Aldous Huxley
Brave New World

"In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting - with various combinations of dread, hope, and ennui - for something momentous to occur."
Tom Robbins
Still Life with Woodpecker

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."
Jeffrey Eugenides

It was very interesting to see an in depth discussion of the opening line of "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. I loved this book when I was in college. In French the opening line is:

"Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas."

It seems so simple but the translation varies - "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know." or "My mother died today, or perhaps it was yesterday." It is discussed on Wikipedia - I'm going to put this on my list of novels to re-read.

So what are the opening lines of your favorite novels?

Comments (2)


Excellent choices! I love that line from Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Such a good book, and I must confess that I adore the movie too (Nicolas Cage...he's on my laminated list!)

Cool! Glad to know of another fan of Jim Harrison and Tom Robbins! They are both on the short list of writers that I will buy anything they publish. I love "Still Life with Woodpecker" - that might be my favorite of all of his novels but it's hard to choose just one.

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