Literature Quiz / Best Opening Lines from Novels - Part 2

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Can you name the novels with the 100 best opening lines (51-100)?

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Opening LineNovel TitleAuthor
Elmer Gantry was drunk.Sinclair Lewis
We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.Louise Erdrich
It was a pleasure to burn.Ray Bradbury
A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.Graham Greene
Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes' chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind...Flann O'Brien
I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull...Daniel Defoe
In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.David Markson
Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.George Eliot
It was love at first sight.Joseph Heller
What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs...Gilbert Sorrentino
I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.W. Somerset Maugham
Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.Anne Tyler
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance...G. K. Chesterton
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.F. Scott Fitzgerald
You better not never tell nobody but God.Alice Walker
'To be born again,' sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, 'first you have to die.'Salman Rushdie
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.Sylvia Plath
Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.David Foster Wallace
If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.Saul Bellow
Francis Marion Tarwater's uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get...Flannery O'Connor
Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye...Günter Grass
When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson.Stanley Elkin
Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins...Robert Coover
She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face...Henry James
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.Ernest Hemingway
Opening LineNovel TitleAuthor
'Take my camel, dear,' said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.Rose Macaulay
He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare...Joseph Conrad
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.L. P. Hartley
On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him...Russell Hoban
Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.William Gaddis
Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.J. G. Ballard
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.Dodie Smith
'When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,' Papa would say, 'she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing...Katherine Dunn
In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke...John Barth
When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California...James Crumley
It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known...William Faulkner
I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known...Robert Graves
Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women.Charles Johnson
I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock...Saul Bellow
The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.Sinclair Lewis
I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright...John Hawkes
He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.Raphael Sabatini
Psychics can see the color of time it's blue.Ronald Sukenick
In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together.Carson McCullers
Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step...Raymond Federman
Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.Margaret Atwood
He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from...Virginia Woolf
High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.David Lodge
They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.Jean Rhys
The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.Stephen Crane

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