100 Best First Lines from Novels

The American Book Review Site has a collection of the "100 Best First Lines from Novels." Not too sure how exhaustive this is - some of them seem pretty ordinary- but a good read nevertheless. Here are a few of my favourites:

Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)

Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women. —Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990)

Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law. —William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own (1994)

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. —Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (2001)

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. —Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Read the full list here. Picture by Instantane.

Which are your favourites?


-Stephen Briggs said...

This is remeniscent of the Bulwar Litton Bad Writing Contest which is held annually. Awards are given for the worst opening line. One of my favourites was "The camel died quite suddenly."
BTW, Bulwar Litton was the author who first penned the opening phrase "It was a dark and stormy night."