first lines

Found a fun link on “100 best first lines from novels” (via 101 Cookbooks).

Some I’ve read, some I haven’t, but all very enticing…

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

“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.”  – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

“I am an invisible man.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”  – —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

“124 was spiteful.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

“Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing”. – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605; trans. Edith Grossman)

“For a long time, I went to bed early.” – Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; trans. Lydia Davis)

“Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.” – George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)

“It was love at first sight.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

“Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.” – David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System (1987)

“In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)

“Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.” – Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990)

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