While editing the first chapter of Caught Inside and playing around with various options for the opening line, I got to thinking about some of my favorite novel beginnings. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the lines that have left a lasting impression on me, regardless of whether or not the book itself lived up to its promise. So, in no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite opening lines:
- “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
- “When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.” – Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz.
- “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.” – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
- “Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a bad day.” – The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan.
- “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis.
- “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
- “Mr and Mrs Dursely of number 4 Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling.
- “”We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
- “I’d never given much thought to how I would die—though I’d had reason enough in the last few months—but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.” – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
- “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – 1984 by George Orwell.
Okay, your turn. What are some of the opening lines that have stayed with you, even after much of the novel itself has faded from your memory? What is it for you that makes the perfect first sentence, one that guarantees you’ll be desperate to read on? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Love that one too! Thanks so much for commenting, Harry.