Top 10 Opening Lines

10. ‘Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.’

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

9. ”What’s it going to be then, eh?”

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

8. ‘My father used to tell me that if you saw a crow it meant someone was going to die.’

The Book of Crows, Sam Meekings

7. ‘In the Square of a Thousand Winds the frost-covered players look like snowmen.’

The Girl Who Played Go, Shan Sa


6. ‘He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eye that’s halfway hopeful.’

Underworld, Don DeLillo

5. ‘I was born in the city of Bombay…once upon a time.’

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

4. ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier

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

1984, George Orwell


2. ‘There was a rock that since the creation of the world had been worked upon by the pure essences of Heaven and the fine savours of Earth, the vigour of sunshine and the grace of moonlight, till at last it became magically pregnant and one day split open, giving birth to a stone egg, about as big as a playing ball.’

Journey to the West, Wu Cheng’en

1. ‘The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.’

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness


5 thoughts on “Top 10 Opening Lines

  1. Nice selection! I especially like Don DeLillo’s – even if I think that to fully enjoy it, you must know what’s next 🙂

    May I add two of them, both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
    * 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 (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
    * It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love (Love in the time of Cholera)

    But again, not knowing what’s next makes you lose half of the pleasure.

  2. This reminds me of my favorite opening line.
    “There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” C.S. Lewis.
    And yes, Marquez is amazing.

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