Hooking the reader: My Favorite Opening Lines

As writers we know how important it is to hook the reader with a powerful opening.  Here’s a short list of my personal favorite first lines:

 ‘There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills.  These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.’  Alan Paton:  Cry the Beloved Country

 ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ L.P.Hartley: The Go-Between

 ‘All children, except one, grow up.’ Jim Barrie, Peter Pan

 ‘It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.’ Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera

 ‘It was the day my grandmother exploded.’  Iain Banks: The Crow Road

 ‘Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.’ Anne Tyler:  Back When We Are Grown Ups

 ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.’ Dodie Smith:  I Capture The Castle

 ‘Marley was dead, to begin with.  Charles Dickens:  A Christmas Carol

 Are there any first lines that have moved or inspired you?




5 thoughts on “Hooking the reader: My Favorite Opening Lines

  1. I always enjoy time spent on this topic, thanks for your choices!
    While it may not necessarily move or inspire me, the opening line of C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader always raises a smile: “There was a boy called Clarence Eustace Scrubb, and he almost deserved it”. (Hope that’s exactly right, quoting from memory here!)

  2. thanks for adding your favorite opening line! Great line!
    I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t got round to reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader but I did read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe a long long time ago…

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