Once Upon a Time… and other brilliant first lines

That first line that launches you on a path from which there is simply no escape. That tempting start to a new book that has you pining for more.  At Hermanus FynArts Christopher Hope shared a few classic first lines of books during a Travel Writing Workshop at The Windsor Hotel. The lines that pulls you in and spin a web around you and keeps you spellbound.  Here are a few:

  • The past is a foreign country; they do things different here. L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between.
  • All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
  • This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.  William Goodwin’s The Princess Bride
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • All children, except one, grow up – Peter Pan by JM Barrie
  • All of this happened, more or less – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
  • It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.  George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four.
  • And here is my best… Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. Waiting by Ha Jin.