27/12/2017 - 4:00 pm

The Best Opening Lines in Literature

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Illustrative Photo / Shutterstock Illustrative Photo / Shutterstock

It's not that the first paragraph is essential to making a book a bestseller, but the two often go hand in hand. The gift of making the first few lines so compelling that they make the reader continue reading, cannot be just a coincidence. Today, some of the best opening lines in literature.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust

and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays.


The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.

Saturnin by Zdeněk Jirotka

I could not possibly say that all the parables and comparisons interwoven into Doctor Witherspoon's intemperate speeches were entirely to my taste. But I have to admit that there is something in his graphic tale of a fellow in a cafe with a plate of doughnuts. At the very least the story may serve as a rough guide to Saturnin. 
Dr. Witherspoon used to categorise people according to the way they behaved in a half-empty cafe when confronted by a plate of doughnuts.
 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.


Illustration to The Little Prince / Photo: Shutterstock
 

A Tale of Two Cities by 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.

A Tale of Two Cities / Photo: Wikipedia

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.
 

Midnight's children by Salman Rushdie

I was born in the city of Bombay… once upon a time. No, that won't do, there's no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar's Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. And the time? The time matters, too. Well then: at night. No, it's important to be more… On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came. Oh, spell it out, spell it out: at the precise instant of India's arrival at independence, I tumbled forth into the world.

Read 942 times Last modified on 20/12/2017 - 3:42 pm
Martina Advaney

Martina is a designer with many years of experience, she writes articles on varied subjects and also conducts interviews.

 

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