First lines can make or break a novel when you are trying to decide whether or not to read it. Here are a few of the first lines that convinced me to read the book that I was holding in my hands. Let me know if you have any unforgettable ‘firsts’.
‘It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.’
1984 / George Orwell
‘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.
‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard.’
The Good Soldier / Ford Madox Ford
‘After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.’ — The Meaning of Night: a confession / Michael Cox (2006)
‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’
The Go-Between / L. P. Hartley (1953)
‘I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story .’
Ethan Frome / Edith Wharton (1911)
‘The corpse without hands lay in the bottom of a small sailing dinghy drifting just within sight of the Suffolk coast.’
Unnatural Causes / P. D. James (1967)