A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Favourite opening line to a novel?

Post 41


"Indian summer is like a woman.Ripe, hotly passionate,but fickle,she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all,nor for how long she will stay.In northern New England, Indian summer puts up a scarlet-tipped hand to hold winter back for a little while..........................One year, early in October, Indian summer came to a town called Peyton Place. Like a laughing, lovely woman Indian summer came and spread herself over the countryside and made everything hurtfully beautiful to the eye."

I had to buy that book again, to see if I found it as "shockingly explicit and exciting " as I did as a teenager; I didn't, but thoroughly enjoyed reading it after all those years.

Favourite opening line to a novel?

Post 42


Thanks Sho; I thought so but wasn't sure............

I'd agree with the Marley being dead as the most memorable book opening too.

I don't think it's an opening, but an intro to one of his chapters in The Shining but it's my favourite;

"Tough old world, baby. If your not bolted on real tight your gonna shake, rattle and roll by the time your 30."

Favourite opening line to a novel?

Post 43

The Artist Formerly Known as Nerd42

West of House.
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
- Opening paragraph of Zork I; the Great Underground Empire.
smiley - towelNerd42

Favourite opening line to a novel?

Post 44

Bagheera: Spellchecker, Grammarian Pedant, Semiquavering Secretary and member of the Punctuation Police

"His meagre cloak was no defence against the torrential rain which plastered it so tightly to his body that it could have been an extra skin"
Opening line of an (as-yet-unpublished) novel by Yours Truly.
smiley - yikesSynopsis & sample chapters currently with a publisher's readersmiley - wow

First 3 chapters [working title "EASTEN"] can be read by hitting three wubble-woos and then greatwriting with a co dot uk dot ending .... smiley - cheers

Favourite opening line to a novel?

Post 45

The Artist Formerly Known as Nerd42

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."

not an opening line at all. anybody know where that's from though?
smiley - towelNerd42

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 46

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

smiley - smiley
"'Marked cards!'"
Under the Red Robe, by Stanley J. Weyman
And then there's a duel, of course.

smiley - smiley
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Not a novel, but there's a wonderful dignity to that line that never fails to impress me.

smiley - smiley
"Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but finished shaving before he did anything about it."
Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett.
It sets up the book. And a wonderful book it is too!

smiley - smiley
"Lightning stabbed the ground repeatedly, like an inefficient assassain."
Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett.
The funniest that I've read of his Discworld novels.

TRiG.smiley - laugh

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 47

Al Johnston

Heinlein did a particularly economical yank into the future opening "Beyond This Horizon" with

"The door dilated"

It's nowhere near an opening, but my favourite Discworld line is Death's from "Mort":


smiley - devilsmiley - pirate

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 48

The Artist Formerly Known as Nerd42

I think I might start reading pratchett.
smiley - towelNerd42

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 49


Tingle,tingle tremble toes-
she´s a good fisherman
catches hens-
puts ém inna pens-
wire, blier, limber lock
three geese inna flock
one flew east-
one flew west-
O U T spells out
goose swoops down

(forty syllables-indian children´s folk rhyme-
one flew over the cuckoo´s nest...)

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 50


I'm sure someone will already have said this but,

"It was the day my grandmother exploded..."

The Crow Road

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 51

Blackberry Cat , if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of the teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque

'Kinraddie lands had been won by a Norman childe, Cospatric de Gondeshil, in the days of William the Lyon, when gryphons and such-like beasts still roamed the Scots countryside and folk would waken in their beds to hear the children screaming, with a great wolf-beast, come through the hide window, tearing at their throats.'

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 52


to return to Terry Pratchett,
sorry, but I really liked this one:

The first question they ask is: 'Why was he eternally surprised?' And they are told: 'Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. Therefore, he understood, there is in truth no past, only a memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.
smiley - winkeye

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 53

Random Mood

I've just read the excellent opening chapter of 'The Remains of the Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro which begins:
"It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days."
I am looking forward to his 'now celebrated evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House' as the cover says.
smiley - ok Random Mood.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 54

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

"I think I might start reading Pratchett."


Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 55

Random person

Definitely my most memorable, if not favourite, opening line, from a book my Dad read me as a kid:

'I knew at once that the coat didn't like me'

From The Killer Coat

And really, do read Pratchett. Go to a bookshop, buy all his books. Then go to a coffee shop, buy all their coffee. Then read all the Discworld books. Seriously. Sleep when you've finished them.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 56

Baryonic Being - save GuideML out of a word-processor: A7720562

Must have been said before:

"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression 'as pretty as an airport'."

By you-know-who.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 57

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

The five year old peered through the door from the house into the funeral parlour waiting room. He remembered his uncle at breakfast, saying around a nicked banger, "We've got four promising widows and three that should have preceded their spouses". The child didn't know what preceded really meant, but he thought the ladies might not have had children, or that very soon after the burial, expected flowers might not appear on the grave of their departed.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 58


smiley - space" He had come back to Holman's world after all. smiley - space He was not sure why. Call it irresistible attraction; call it sentimentality; call it foolishness. Gunderson had never planned to revisit this place."
Downward to the Earth by Robert Silverberg.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 59


smiley - space"As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where there was a den, and I laid me down to sleep in that place and as I slept I dreamed a dream"
The Pilgrim's Progress.

Favourite opening line to a novel

Post 60

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

It was an odd place for dancing, a lumberjack's dive in the Eastern Yukon, but the chairs and tables had been pushed back helter-skelter and a solo performance was occurring on the beaten wooden floor. A mature yet beautiful woman was dancing what appeared to be a punk tarantella with great gusto to the tune of an old April Wine song from the juke box. She was wearing dungarees and work boots and an old Maple Leaf jersey. She seemed to be singing along with the words until I heard her clearly during the guitar solo,"Damned rat, damned rat, I hate damned rats!"
And with a squish, the dance was over. The music played on.

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