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Thread: Favorite Opening Lines

  1. #31
    Registered User PoeticPassions's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
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    "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." Love in the Time of Cholera Marquez

    "There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening." A Clockwork Orange

    I agree with LOLITA... I am sure there are more that don't come to mind right now.
    "All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours." -Aldous Huxley

    "Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." -William Blake

  2. #32
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    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 and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me....

    Cather in the Rye
    JD Salinger

  3. #33
    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    "Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could hear them hitting." - William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

    "Stately plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed." - James Joyce, Ulysses

    "Here we are, alone again." - Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Death on the Installment Plan

    "Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos." - Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

    I'd also like to second the already mentioned Swann's Way, Notes from Underground, and Lolita.

  4. #34
    Weird Fish-God Ome's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Stately, plump Buck Mullligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

    Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: 'Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.' That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.
    The Stranger

    Last year, on the evening of March 22, I had a very strange adventure. All that day I had been walking about the town trying to find a lodging. My old one was very damp, and I had begun to have an ominous cough.
    Insulted and injured
    `Кто смеет убить себя, тот бог. Достоевский
    `I Speak to God, but the Sky is empty. Plath
    `I'm an artist just because I'm ugly. Andy Warhol

  5. #35
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Nov 2011

    quote the best opening lines of a book ever

    There are opening lines you simply cannot forget because of the impact it has one's mind/feelings.

    Do you have one in mind you would like to share?

    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    it fly

  6. #36 MarkBastable's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    He lifted the lid of the dustbin and looked out.

    Available now for the e-reader on your bedside table.

  7. #37
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    This was an interesting thread. Sometimes an opening can be arresting for little more reason than to be eye-catching. But sometimes it gives a whole steer to what is to follow. The beginning of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is good. Earthly Powers has an eye-catching opening. The Tomorrow File (an obscure novel that I admire) has an eye-catching opening. Jaws gets right into it. Jayne Eyre has an opening which when re-read suggests a lot about the writer's intentions. A good opening is often like that. A Passage to India has a delicious opening. Synaesthetic critical terminology there!

  8. #38
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Reading, England
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  9. #39
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    New York, NY
    From Homer's Iliad (Greek):

    μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
    οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,
    πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
    ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
    5οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
    ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
    Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

    Paradise Lost's opening:

    Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
    Sing, Heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
    Of Oreb or of Sinai didst inspire
    That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed
    In the beginning how the heaven and earth
    Rose out of chaos. Or if Sion hill
    Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed
    Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
    Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song
    That with no middle flight intends to soar
    Above th'Aionian mount, while it pursues
    Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
    And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
    Before all temples th'upright heart and pure,
    Instruct me, for thou knowst, thou from the first
    Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
    Dove-like sat'st brooding o'er the vast abyss
    And madst it pregnant. What in me is dark,
    Illumine; what is low, raise and support,
    That to the highth of this great argument,
    I may assert Eternal Providence
    And justify the ways of God to man.

    Also, the opening sentence of The Scarlet Letter (one of my all-time favorite novels):

    "A THRONG of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes."

  10. #40
    In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.
    I love "Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings" and basically everything by Tolkien! They are very inspiring and beautiful, and epic...

  11. #41
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    Love these listed so far. I'd add Anna Karenina's:
    "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
    Last edited by DWit; 04-07-2019 at 06:15 PM.

  12. #42
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    Love these listed so far. I'd add Anna Karenina's:
    "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
    Last edited by DWit; 04-07-2019 at 06:14 PM.

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