Favorite First Lines

Inspired by the Favorite Last Lines thread, what are your favorite first lines of a book or movie? Here’s mine, from Pigs Don’t Fly by Mary Brown.

“My mother was the village whore, and I loved her very much.”

“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.”

I think it’s hard to top the first sentence in The Thought Gang by Tibor Fischer.

(the rest of the book is equally awesome, BTW)

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Along with…

“Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.”

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again.”

“Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.”


“The dark man fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Swallowed me right up, it did.

the usual…

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”


"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. "

Another fan of “The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Sten : “Death came quietly to the Row”

Reality Chuck and Ol Gaffer got mine, all three of them, dagnabit

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Do dedicatory poems or prologues, (if both of which are fictional) count as “first lines”? Cause I’m writing a novel with a kickass first line but before every chapter I have an intentionally mediocre dedicatory poem.

I wouldn’t want to be remembered for “The child shall grow up to save them from hatred and cheesesteak” :slight_smile:

And that would also disqualify my favorite first line: Lolita.

for those of us who are not quite so well read, can people write what books these are from?

Sorry… the first is 1984, the second L’Etranger, by Albert Camus; it translates as “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I’m not sure.”

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

I like the quote both because its a good opening in and of itself, and because I’m also amused by how changes in technology have changed its meaning. Tune your TV to a dead channel these days, and your more then likely to be looking at a pleasant sky blue. The next generation will totally misunderstand what Gibson was trying to say.

“At first, Potiphar Breen did not notice the girl taking her clothes off…”

“It was love at first sight.”


Rough paraphrase:

There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it.

C.S. Lewis The Silver Chair. (Narnia IV, orthodox version)

The first is from The Hobbit by Tolkien, the second is from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.