20 Best Opening Lines From Novels

Random Literature or author Quiz

Can you name the novels with the best opening lines?

Featured Dec 10, 2014

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Opening LineNovel TitleAuthor
Call me Ishmael.Herman Melville
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.Jane Austen
A screaming comes across the sky.Thomas Pynchon
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.Gabriel García Márquez*
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.Vladimir Nabokov
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.Leo Tolstoy*
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.James Joyce
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.George Orwell
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...Charles Dickens
I am an invisible man.Ralph Ellison
The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared...Nathanael West
You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter.Mark Twain
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.Franz Kafka*
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler.Italo Calvino*
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.Samuel Beckett
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...J. D. Salinger
Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy...James Joyce
This is the saddest story I have ever heard.Ford Madox Ford
I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me...Laurence Sterne
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.Charles Dickens

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Created Mar 22, 2010SourceReport
Tags:author, book, novel, excerpt