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Best opening line in a book

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Khaine, Oct 12, 2021 at 12:06 PM.

  1. Khaine

    Khaine Fourth Year

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    What do you regard as the best opening line you've ever read in a book?
    For me it is without a doubt the opening sentence of a Christmas Carol.

    It just sets the mood and tone the author is using right away.
    It also piques the readers interest, who is Marley? Why is it so important he is dead? and other questions like that.

    So what do you guys think is the best opening line in any book?
     
  2. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    Hard to beat Earthly Powers, by Anthony Burgess:

    "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."
     
  3. ronin11

    ronin11 First Year

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    "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
     
  4. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    "The small boys came early to the hanging."

    The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. My favorite fictional book ever written.
     
  5. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina.
     
  6. cucio

    cucio Groundskeeper

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    "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

    Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

    I don't know how this book translates to English, but reading it in Spanish, it sweeps you off your feet and takes you for the wildest of rides, from the very first line, which is a full story in and of itself and portkeys you right into the heart of magical Macondo, to the exhilarating, epic ending.

    ∞ out of 5.
     
  7. haphnepls

    haphnepls DA Member

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    I always liked the 1984 one because it sets the tone perfectly and it shows you from the very beginning that there's something wrong going on.

    Fun fact about it: When Italians first translated it they put one instead of thirteen, with the explanation that Italian clocks go only as far as twelve. Kek.
     
  8. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This one stuck with me for many reasons beyond the obvious, the biggest of which is just how much feeling and information is conveyed in it, and how simple a sentence it is.
     
  9. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    The Princess Bride is also worthy of mention, although depending on how you look at it, it has two:

    "This is my favourite book in all the world, though I have never read it."

    And

    "The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette."
     
  10. dudeler

    dudeler Seventh Year

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    I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world.

    Followed by:

    My surname is Lu and my personal name is Yu, but I am not to be confused with the eminent author of The
    Classic of Tea.

    It shows the great combination of tragedy and comedy that ist the bridge of birds.
     
  11. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    "The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault."

    While it's an opening of the sixth book in the series and because of that it has additional background information, even on its own it's one of my favorite openings.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    An excellent opening setting up a book and a famous quote on its own.

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    John is more mystical compared to the other Testaments and this opening sets it up perfectly.
     
  12. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    No line has ever hooked me as much or as quickly as the one from the Necronomicon, Commemorative Edition. The first short story is Dagon, and it begins thus:

    'I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more.'

    This continues into the most interesting first paragraph as well, though I won't quote the rest since this thread is about the opening line only.
     
  13. DrSarcasm

    DrSarcasm Death Eater

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    Maybe not the best opening line, but the first segment of the fanfic Chaos Theory has always stuck with me as one of the best ways to explain the multiverse.

     
  14. TMD

    TMD High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."
     
  15. FitzDizzyspells

    FitzDizzyspells Fifth Year DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I love the opening line in The Magicians. It's fun and immediately establishes the protagonist's tendency to mope.
     
  16. yargle

    yargle Seventh Year

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    There's something about the opening line of The Eye of the World that tickles my soul.

     
  17. Paradise

    Paradise Paraplegic Dice DLP Supporter

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    "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. " - War of the Worlds
     
  18. wordhammer

    wordhammer Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." - Neuromancer by William Gibson
     
  19. Quick Ben

    Quick Ben In ur docs, stealin ur werds.

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    "The age of kings is dead..and I have killed it"

    Powder Mage book 1.

    Instantly hooked me, although the rest of the story wasn't so good.
     
  20. Eimim

    Eimim First Year

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    Weirdest and best start to any autobiography I have ever read:

    "Horselover Fat's nervous breakdown began the day he got a phonecall from Gloria asking if he had any Nembutals." Valis by Philip K. Dick

    In a way this crystalizes what type of life the authors had, but the story still manages to go beyond all expectations raised by that start.
     
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