All-Time Favourite Opening Sentences

1-100 101-200 201-300 301-400 401-500 501-600 601-700 701-800 801-900 901-999

These are the all-time favourite opening sentences as voted by viewers of To vote for your favourite or favourites, hit the "Vote" button on this page. If your favourite opening sentence is not already listed, please submit it here.

901 Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.
High Rise
J.G. Ballard, 1975
902 Two riders came from the darksome sea, black against the morning light, and they tore into the first Mexican village.
Queen of America
Luis Alberto Urrea, 2011
903 I am tired, so very tired of thinking about Lacey Yeager, yet I worry that unless I write her story down, and see it bound and tidy on my bookshelf, I will be unable to ever write about anything else.
An Object of Beauty
Steve Martin, 2010
904 Clive awoke before dawn in a motel in Ypsilanti, Michigan, thinking it was altogether possible that every woman in the world was married to the wrong man.
The Land of Unlikeness (from The River Swimmer )
Jim Harrison, 2013
905 Tiny and Micah sat on the back porch of the house where they lived outside the town of Boris, watching the sun go down behind the train tracks and trees.
Tom Drury, 2013
906 Pegeen Chahab walked up from the subway in the evening light.
Alice McDermott, 2013
907 The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met.
The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton, 2013
908 So
Here was this stain on the carpet, a wet patch big as a coffee table.
Tim Winton, 2013
909 The siren on top of the Dalton, North Dakota, fire station howls, as it does five days a week at this hour.
Let Him Go
Larry Watson, 2013
910 On a warm night in early July of that long-evaporated year, the Interestings gathered for the first time.
The Interestings
Meg Wolitzer, 2013
911 The first time I saw him fight was right in front of the school, winter.
Mark Slouka, 2013
912 I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.
The Rosie Project
Graeme Simion, 2013
913 Valera had fallen back from his squadron and was cutting the wires of another rider’s lamp.
The Flamethrowers
Rachel Kushner, 2013
914 God was not responsible for what came to pass.
On Sal Mal Lane
Ru Freeman, 2013
915 On the morning after the feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anthony Mara, 2013
916 There is something gripping to Walker about a town in decline.
Mary Coin
Marisa Silver, 2013
917 Before our first encounter with the bear I had already finished building the house, or nearly so.
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods
Matt Bell, 2013
918 Picture a late June morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume—same as I would wear that evening.
Therese Anne Fowler, 2013
919 I didn’t suspect the day Grandfather came out and got me and my sister, Lula, and hauled us off toward the ferry, that I’d soon end up with worse things happening than had already come upon us, or that I’d take up with a gun-shooting dwarf, the son of a slave and a big angry hog, let alone find true love and kill someone, but that’s exactly how it was.
The Thicket
Joe R. Lansdale, 2013
920 Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding.
All the Birds, Singing
Evie Wyld, 2013
921 Why at the beginning of things is there always light?
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Richard Flanagan, 2013
922 My friendship with Lila began the day we decided to go up the dark stairs that led, step after step, flight after flight, to the door of Don Achille’s apartment.
My Brilliant Friend
Elana Ferrante, 2011 (tr. Ann Goldstein, 2012)
923 Ten days before he became so famous that crowds would form around any building that contained him and waiters would fight over a corncob left on his dinner plate, no one had heard of Charles Lindbergh.
One Summer: America, 1927
Bill Bryson 2013
924 Naked, but for a G-string, rough sandals, a bit of hide, and a buffalo headdress, a savage warrior leaped and danced to the beating of drums.
The War Chief
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1927
925 I was fifteen years old when my parents sent me away to the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Anton Disclafani, 2013
926 My wonder upon discovering the Book of Fish remains with me yet, luminous as the phosphorescent marbling that seized my eyes that strange morning; glittering as those eerie swirls that coloured my mind and enchanted my soul—which there and then began the process of unravelling my heart and, worse still, my life into the poor, scraggy skein that is this story you are about to read.
Gould’s Book of Fish
Richard Flanagan, 2001
927The war tried to kill us in the spring.
The Yellow Birds
Kevin Powers, 2012
928 What to know about pain is how little we do to deserve it, how simple it is to give, how hard to lose. I'm a plumber. I dig for what's wrong. I should know.
Widow Water (from Hardwater Country)
Frederick Busch, 1979
929 By the time he was eight he knew he would never be a Great Actress.
Hello Darling, Are You Working?
Rupert Everett, 1992
930 A hilltop. The earth light and still, almost barren: a brownish yellow, dotted with rocks and lonely olive trees, and, here and there, soft patches of green brought on by the rain.
The Hilltop
Assaf Gavron, 2013 (tr. Steven Cohen, 2014)
931 The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored.
Station 11
Emily St. John Mandell, 2014

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