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Topic: The Greatest Openings in Literature

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Subject: The Greatest Openings in Literature
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 252
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I just discovered the fiction forum on Amazon.com


and read the entire new forum on The Greatest Openings in Literature. It's quite inspiring - at least it will help motivate you to improve your opening lines.

What do you think are the greatest openings (first sentence or two) in novels you've read?

Here are some great opening sentences from some of my favorite books:

There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name. It stood by a mournful sea full of glumfish, which were so miserable to eat that they made people belch with melancholy even though the skies were blue. In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which (so I'm told) sadness was actually manufactured.   ---Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (a totally delightful book)

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother; her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.     ---Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The women of this family learned toward extremes. All winter they yearned for long, long nights and short precise days; in the summer, the sun in the sky for eighteen hours, then a multitude of stars.  
---Away by Jane Urquhart

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.     ----The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.   ---On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

He had no name, so he gave him his own. As a loan, as a gift, what did it matter? In time of war every word is as good as the next. A man possesses only what he gives away.    ---The Gates of the Forest, Elie Wiesel


Last Edited on: 8/12/08 3:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 2