"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Monday, March 17, 2008

100 Best First Lines

As chosen by the editors of the American Book Review. This was interesting, if only to get one thinking about one's own favorites. I agree with some, particularly the William Gibson, #30 on this list:

30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. Neuromancer

Here are some others:

26. 124 was spiteful. (Toni Morrison, from Beloved)
37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. (Virginia Woolf, from Mrs. Dalloway)
64. 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 Fitzerald, from The Great Gatsby)
99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. (Jean Rhys from Wide Sargasso Sea)

Got any favorites? Feel free to share.


John Baker said...

My Grandfather was a publican - and a sinner, as you will see.
The Hole in the Wall by Arthur Morrison.

Raspberry said...

Having just finished A Tale of Two Cities that one is my favorite on the list. It is interesting to me that just the first line brings back so many thoughts and feelings from when I read these books.

Zen of Writing said...

Try as I might, I could not come up with anything better than the examples given.

Unless that is the first line of a teacher's autobiography?

Anonymous said...

'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.'