best opening lines
jellyfish (all lists)  
2
  Public
Modified at: 2020-07-07 3:48pm

“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

“If this typewriter can’t do it, then fuck it, it can’t be done.”

“Once upon a time…”

“The first time I saw Catherine she was wearing a vivid crimson dress and was nervously leafing through a magazine in my waiting room. She was visibly out of breath.”

“Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle: it didn’t matter what. She was in the white corner and that was that.”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it?”

“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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

“All stories are love stories.”

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.”

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.”

“Call me Ishmael.”

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

“It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. Its eyes were closed.”

“Clare: It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.”

“When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventyifirst birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

“You better not never tell nobody but God.''

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”

"But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction."

"At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin."

"Tap-dancing child abuser. That’s what The Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Vivi."

"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead."

Emma
Emma
Literature 4.25

"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

"You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."

“The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium.”

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

"1801 – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.”

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

"As the Manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards, and, looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place."

"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?"

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."

"The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn."

"'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."

"'What’s it going to be then, eh?'"

Matilda
Matilda
Literature 4.25

"It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful."

Atonement
Atonement
Literature 3.67

“The play – for Which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper – was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.”

"Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight - and superstitious about sevens - shifted uncomfortably in the seat of the old Plymouth and ran her hands down the curve of her belly.”

“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Literature 3.58

“All children, except one, grow up.”

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book."

"This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast."

"It was the day my grandmother exploded."

"This time there would be no witnesses."

"Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her."

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

1984
1984
Literature 4.17

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

"The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand."

"The first time I read the ad, I choked and cursed and spat and threw the paper to the floor."

"A screaming comes across the sky."

"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."

"Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living."

"No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine."

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

"Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space."

Catch-22
Catch-22
Literature 4.25

"It was love at first sight."

Herzog
Herzog
Literature 4.33

"If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me thought Moses Herzog."

"It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills."

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