100 Best First Lines from Novels

Here are some examples:

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. —Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)

49. It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)
38. All this happened, more or less. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

9. 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)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

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3 Responses to 100 Best First Lines from Novels

  1. Anonymous says:

    In my dad’s later years, when his thoughts were mostly retrospective and introspective, he often copied and sent to me, lines from books that he found particularly eloquent. I particularly like this first line (or two):

    At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring. Inman’s eyes and the long wound at his neck drew them and the sound of their wings and the touch of their feet were soon more potent than a yardful of roosters in rousing a man to wake.

    Everyone in my family will know the book, I think.

    son of the grandfather of granddaughtergeeding

  2. wifeGeeding and I will be having a daughter??? I was not aware of this, curses – I wanted a boy. 😉

  3. Anonymous says:

    nope… KG is the granddaughter of my dad. relationships are difficult huh?
    boy or girl… either will be fine.

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