It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I am reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for one of my bookclubs. (I am only in two.) I was struck by the first line of the book:
"When the lights went off, the accompanist kissed her."
What a great first line. It leads to all sorts of questions.
"Why did the lights go off?"
"Did he kiss her because the lights went off?"
Immediately you want answers to your questions. That line draws you in.
It reminded me of another one of my favorite first lines from Charles Williams' War in Heaven:
"The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room except the corpse."
You get a picture in your head right away of this scene and again, it raises questions and draws you in to the story. It also made me want to answer that phone!
There are some very famous first lines in novels:
"Call me Ishmael."
Anyone have trouble connecting those first lines with the novels they come from? I didn't think so.
This first line rumination got me, well, ruminating some more...
What are some of your favorite first lines in novels, short stories, non-fiction?