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 openingsentences.com. 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.

401 Let me introduce you to Victor Skynard, the mixed-ability parasite, radical socio-irritant and spiritual bomb-thrower who came into the cafe that day.
Eating Air
Pauline Melville, 2009
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402 From the canoe, stilled on the still cove of the lake, the land was reflected in detail in the water: branches and leaves and pinecones, berry bushes, and the stone-and-timber house on the steep bank among trees.
ABC
David Plante, 2007
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403 He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eye that’s always hopeful.
Underworld
Don Delillo, 1997
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404 Everyone is born with some special talent, and Eliza Sommers discovered early on that she had two: a good sense of smell and a good memory.
Daughter of Fortune
Isabel Allende, 1999
405 The idea of using porn films to encourage the dairy cows to breed had been a poor one.
This Is Not Civilization
Robert Rosenberg, 2004
406 The idea really came to me the day I got my false teeth.
Coming Up for Air
George Orwell, 1939
407 Death was driving an emerald-green Lexus.
Winter Moon
Dean Koontz, 1994
408 “So the garden of number eighty-four is nothing more than a sort of playground for all the kids of the neighbourhood?"
The Northern Clemency
Philip Hensher, 2008
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409 There are moments of great luxury in the life of a secret agent.
Live and Let Die
Ian Fleming, 1954
410 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas, prince of Abissinia.
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia
Samuel Johnson, 1759
411 The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.
Babbitt
Sinclair Lewis, 1922
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412 The man sitting next to the podium appeared to be very old, at least in the eyes of the members of his audience, most of whom were very young.
The Indian Clerk
David Leavitt, 2007
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413 It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn’t.
The English Major
Jim Harrison, 2008
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414 This is what I write to her: The clouds tonight embossed the sky. A dipping sun gilded and brazed each raveling edge as if the firmament were threaded through with precious filaments.
March
Geraldine Brooks, 2005
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415 At twenty-four the ambassador's daughter slept badly through the warm, unsurprising nights.
Shalimar the Clown
Salman Rushdie, 2005
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416 In 1972 I was sixteen - young, my father said, to be traveling with him on his diplomatic missions.
The Historian
Elizabeth Kostova, 2005
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417 Cash isn't the only thing I take from my father's study when I leave home.
Kafka on the Shore
Haruki Murakami, 2005 (tr. Philip Gabriel)
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418 In the darkness, he touched her arm and said, "Stay here."
State of Fear
Michael Crichton, 2004
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419 Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet.
Saturday
Ian McEwan, 2005
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420 I think that everything, or at least the part of everything that happened to me, started with the Roman architecture mix-up.
Prep
Curtis Sittenfeld, 2005
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421 When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, LEO GURSKY IS SURVIVED BY AN APARTMENT FULL OF SHIT.
The History of Love
Nicole Krauss, 2005
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422 Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?
A Long Way Down
Nick Hornby, 2005
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423 Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini, 2007
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424 "Then she says, now dig this, she says ..." and he broke up laughing, a strange, rasping laugh, for maybe the fourth time since he started what was shaping up as an interminable story, "...she says: 'Listen, who do I have to fuck to get off this picture?!?' "
Blue Movie
Terry Southern, 1970
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425 Everyone called him Pop Eye.
Mr Pip
Lloyd Jones, 2007
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426 We may as well begin with the ride home.
Pearl
Mary Gordon, 2005
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427 Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.
The Broom of the System
David Foster Wallace, 1987
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428 In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.
Wittgenstein's Mistress
David Markson, 1988
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429 Six months before Polly Cain drowned in the canal, my sister, Nona, ran off and married a cowboy.
The God of Animals
Aryn Kyle, 2007
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430 The sun poked out briefly, evidence of a universe above them, of watchful things--planets and stars and vast galaxies of infinite knowledge—and just as suddenly it retreated behind the clouds.
The Last Town on Earth
Thomas Mullen, 2006
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431 This is Lexie Madison’s story, not mine.
The Likeness
Tana French, 2008
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432 In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house.
The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett, 1989
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433 After many years of believing I never dream of anything, I dreamed of Africa.
The Darling
Russell Banks, 2004
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434 Of course an erect penis is all very well at the end of a party, rather to be desired really, but its not the first thing you expect to see when you enter a room.
Pants on Fire
Maggie Alderson, 2000
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435 After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.
The Meaning of Night: A Confession
Michael Cox, 2006
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436 The President of the United States awoke that Monday morning with his usual hangover--fashioned not of liquor but of tensions and worries that sleep had failed to dissolve.
The President's Plane is Missing
Robert J Serling, 1967
437 They were round-shouldered and droopy-headed like mourners, the shadowy child-sized creatures, squatting by the side of the sloping road.
Monkey Hill (from The Elephanta Suite)
Paul Theroux, 2007
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438 The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.
Uglies
Scott Westerfeld, 2005
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439 Around the grave in the rundown cemetery were a few of his former advertising colleagues from New York, who recalled his energy and originality and told his daughter, Nancy, what a pleasure it had been to work with him.
Everyman
Philip Roth, 2006
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440 In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers, 1940
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441 The Elite Cafe was entered by a staircase from the foyer of a cinema.
Lanark
Alisdair Gray, 1981
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442 Five large, hairy men were gathered for a top secret meeting in a bunker under the presidential palace in the city of Krpsht.
Science Fair
Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, 2008
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443 We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.
Tracks
Louise Erdrich, 1988
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444 It was a moment Sarah Page had been working toward ever since she first walked into the Washington Capital newsroom six summers earlier.
The Rules of the Game
Leonard Downie Jr, 2009
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446 Had Eddie Wesley been a less reliable man, he would never have stumbled over the body, chased Junie to Tennessee, battled the devils to a draw, and helped to topple a President.
Palace Council
Stephen L Carter, 2008
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447 In the warm glow of fires that lit the clearing at the centre of straw-roofed mud huts, palm-leaf cups of toddy flew from hand to hand.
An Atlas of Impossible Longing
Anuradha Roy, 2008
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448 On the day he met Olga Lazovich Milanoff Hinzenberg, at a ballet performance in Chicago in the fall of 1924, Frank Lloyd Wright was feeling optimistic, buoyant even.
The Women
TC Boyle, 2009
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449 After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mother’s womb, my brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954.
Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese, 2009
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450 Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960.
The Help
Kathryn Stockett, 2009
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451 It started as an accident.
The Piano Teacher
Janice YK Lee, 2009
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452 Sam Simoneaux leaned against the ship's rail, holding on in the snarling wind as his lieutenant struggled toward him through the spray, grabbing latches, guy wires, valve handles. "Pretty bad belowdecks," the lieutenant cried out against the blow.
The Missing
Tim Gautreaux, 2009
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453 I move his chair into the yard under the tree and then Nonie carries him out.
Lark and Termite
Jayne Anne Phillips, 2009
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454 When did I first stumble into the wrong grove?
The Sky Below
Stacey D'Erasmo, 2009
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455 When they first came into the country it was wet and raining and if they had known of the droughts that lasted for seven years at a time they might never have stayed.
The Color of Lightning
Paulette Jiles, 2009
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456 Four hours after his failed suicide attempt, he descended toward Aerodrom Ljubljana.
The Tourist
Olen Steinhauer, 2009
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457 Usnavy was an old man. Not in age so much — he had turned fifty-four that year — but he was born old, his childhood brow prematurely molded into an expression of permanent concern, his gait, even as a youngster, as labored as if he'd been instantly injured on the job, both in spirit and in fact.
Ruins
Achy Obejas, 2009
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458 On November 11 Lowboy ran to catch a train.
Lowboy
John Wray, 2009
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459 In the beginning, John Morrison is working in his garden.
The Glister
John Burnside, 2008
460 The afternoon before I left London for new York — Rachel had flown out six weeks previously — I was in my cubicle at work, boxing up my possessions, when a senior vice president at the bank, an Englishman in his fifties, came to wish me well.
Netherland
Joseph O’Neill, 2008
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461 Anna K. was not the only pale woman in black shearling to glide along 108th Street in Rego Park, but she was the most striking.
What Happened to Anna K.
Irina Reyn, 2008
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462 Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Susanna Clarke, 2004
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463 Walt said that the dead turned into grass, but there was no grass where they'd buried Simon.
Specimen Days
Michael Cunningham, 2005
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464 He did not expect to see blood.
Kramer vs Kramer
Avery Corman, 1977
465 From her perch in the middle of the backseat, Meri surveys the two in front-her husband, Nathan, and Sheila, the real estate agent.
The Senator's Wife
Sue Miller, 2007
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466 I was born and bred in a tiny, low-ceilinged ground-floor flat.
A Tale of Love and Darkness
Amos Oz, 2003 (tr. Nicholas de Lange, 2004)
467 All around the country, the women were waking up.
The Ten-Year Nap
Meg Wolitzer, 2008
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468 There were a hundred and seven of them, of all ages, shapes and sizes, from twenty-five- and thirty-year-olds in dresses that looked like they were made of Saran Wrap to a couple of big beamed older types in pantsuits who could have been somebody's mother-and I mean somebody grown, with a goatee beard and a job at McDonald's.
Termination Dust (from After the Plague)
TC Boyle, 2001
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469 During the Great War, I lived in the west of Berlin, in a room with a balcony in a small boarding house on Fasanenstrasse.
To This Day
S Y Agnon, 1951 (tr. Hillel Halkin, 2008)
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470 Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blond Ukrainian divorcee.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Marina Lewycka, 2005
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471 Last night at 3:00 a.m. President Kennedy had been killed.
Tree of Smoke
Denis Johnson, 2007
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472 The harp player had just fallen off the stage and cracked his head on an Italian tourist's pint.
McCarthy's Bar
Pete McCarthy, 2000
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473 "I see . . ." said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room toward the window.
Interview with the Vampire
Anne Rice, 1976
474 “And suddenly,” said the elderly American man in the white shirt, “suddenly, a pigeon flew overhead, above that hell.”
A Pigeon and a Boy
Meir Shalev, 2006 (tr. Evan Fallenberg, 2007)
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475 A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.
The Angel’s Game
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, 2008 (tr. Lucia Graves, 2009)
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476 She lay on her back fastened by leather strap to a narrow bed with a steel frame.
The Girl Who Played With Fire
Stieg Larsson, 2004 (tr. Reg Keeland, 2009)
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477 It was as black in the closet as old blood.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley, 2009
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478 I’m a problematic infant but everything seems okay to me.
Swimming
Nicola Keegan, 2009
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479 She had never lived in a house and now, seeing the thing, she was no longer sure she wanted to.
All the Living
CE Morgan, 2009
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480 Henry Archer did not attend his ex-wife’s husband’s funeral, but he did send a note of condolence.
The Family Man
Elinor Lipman, 2009
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481 The rain came unexpectedly, after nearly three years of drought.
Secret Son
Laila Lalami, 2009
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482 On a Thursday night in late December, I stood in my friend Indrani Dressler’s living room, flirting with a man I had just met.
Trouble
Kate Christensen, 2009
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483 When I was a young child growing up in Korea, it was said that the image of the fading moon at daybreak, reflected in a pond or stream or even a well, resembled the speckled shell of a dragon’s egg.
Honolulu
Alan Brennert, 2009
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484 I used to be human once.
Animal’s People
Indra Sinha, 2007
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485 Somewhere in Eastern Germany, my grandfather Askild is running across an open plain.
Doghead
Morten Ramsland, 2005 (tr. Tiina Nunnally, 2006)
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486 "Our daughter looks like a South China peasant with those red cheeks," my father complains, pointedly ignoring the soup before him. "Can't you do something about them?"
Shanghai Girls
Lisa See, 2009
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487 Once a year there was a knock at the door.
The Story Sisters
Alice Hoffman, 2009
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488 Inside a barrel in the bottom of a boat, with a canteen of water wedged between his legs and a packet of poison concealed in his pocket, Jacob Rappaport felt a knot tightening in his stomach—not because he was doing something dangerous, but because he was about to do something wrong.
All Other Nights
Dara Horn, 2009
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489 Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work.
Brooklyn
Colm Toibin, 2009
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490 The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door.
Sarah's Key
Tatiana De Rosnay, 2007
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491 Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing through each of the rooms on the first floor.
Still Alice
Lisa Genova, 2007, 2009
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492 The bandidos came to the village at the worst possible time.
Into the Beautiful North
Luis Alberto Urrea, 2009
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493 For a reason Rosa could not explain, the face of the Madonna filled her with terror.
The Chapel at the Edge of the World
Kirsten Mckenzie, 2009
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494 “You’re the ex-priest.” Temple pointed out. You must know how we can avoid the wedding from Hell?”
Cat in a Topaz Tango
Carole Nelson Douglas, 2009
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495 On Wednesday, the eighth day of March, 2000, as he passed through the area surrounding his domicile in the locality of Quinua, Justino Mayta Carazo (31) discovered a body.
Red April
Santiago Roncagliolo 2006 (tr. Edith Grossman, 2009)
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496 Jimmy Luntz had never been to war, but this was the sensation, he was sure of that—eighteen guys in a room, Rob, the director, sending them out—eighteen guys shoulder to shoulder, moving out on the orders of their leader to do what they’ve been training day and night to do.
Nobody Move
Denis Johnson, 2009
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497 Especially when he was alone Alec Malone had the habit of slipping into reverie, a semiconscious state not to be confused with dreams.
Exiles in the Garden
Ward Just, 2009
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498 I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old.
The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters, 2009
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499 Though the digital clock on the bedside table in his hotel room read 5:17, Jack Griffin, suddenly wide awake, knew he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep.
That Old Cape Magic
Richard Russo, 2009
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500 Had I not been there, no account, no print, no evidence of witnesses could have made me believe what I saw that day.
The Mathematics of Love
Emma Darwin, 2007
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501-600

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