Monday, June 04, 2007

Great first lines of novels

Via an old post of Jai Arjun’s (I can’t locate it now), I came across this link that lists some of the great first lines of novels - you'll find many classics in this compilation.

Some of my own additions: Rushdie’s frenzied start to his famous Midnight's Children: “I was born in the city of Bombay…once upon a time. No that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947.”

And here's my vote for the most cynical beginning ever to a novel: “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” This is from - not too tough to guess - Naipaul’s A Bend in the River.

Finally, to digress from literary writing a bit, Jared Diamond, in his non-fiction work, Guns Germs and Steel begins with “We all know that history has proceeded very differently for peoples from different parts of the globe” and then goes on to provide an astonishing, readable synthesis of existing research to explain how these differences came to be.

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