Opening Sentences From Recently Published Books

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This may be hard to believe, coming from a black man, but I’ve never stolen anything.
The Sellout
Paul Beatty, 2015
When the destruction of Israel commenced, Isaac Bloch was weighing whether to kill himself or move to the Jewish Home.
Here I Am
Jonathan Safran Foer, 2016
I am ten years old and I know every crack, bone and crevice in the crumbling sidewalk running up and down Randolph Street, my street.
Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen, 2016
Cassie and Lil Ma and Grandmother lived in a house at the far end of Negro Street in two rooms over the laundry that they ran in Heron-Neck.
Absalom’s Daughters
Suzanne Feldman, 2016
This is how I heard the story. When Alger Hiss got out of prison, he had a hard time finding a job.
Michael Chabon, 2016
Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way.
The Vegetarian
Han Kang, 2007 (tr. Deborah Smith, 2015)
We were discouraged from having pets—or, for that matter, husbands or even boyfriends, and the same went for the men, none of whom were married as far as anybody knew.
The Terranauts
T.C. Boyle, 2016
I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds.
The Sympathizer
Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016
The eleventh apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking. Willem held up a hand in greeting to him, but the man didn’t wave back.
A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara, 2015
In 1917, just as another hellish August was starting to come to an end along the border that divides Georgia and Alabama, Pearl Jewett awakened his sons before dawn one morning with a guttural bark that sounded more animal than man.
The Heavenly Table
Donald Ray Pollock, 2016
Very little is known, though much has been written, about the true nature of the jinn, the creatures made of smokeless fire. Whether they are good or evil, devilish or benign, such questions are hotly disputed.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Salman Rashdie, 2015
The first time Caesar approached Cora about running north, she said no.
The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, 2016
The summer of 1948 my brother Davy was killed in an accident with a man who would have given his own life rather than have it happen.
As Close to Us as Breathing
Elizabeth Poliner, 2016
You would not think anyone so afflicted would or could be cheerful, not prone to melancholy or the miseries.
Miss Jane
Brad Watson, 2016
It is one of those better-to-be-dead-than-alive days you get in the north of England in February, the space between the land and sky a mere letter box of squeezed light, the sky itself unfathomably banal.
Shylock is My Name
Howard Jacobson, 2016
He walked as far as the hedge that signalled the end of the airfield.
A God in Ruins
Kate Atkinson, 2015
There’s a box that contains life and everything else.
Bradley Somer, 2015
In the winter they started planting bombs.
Anthony Schneider, 2016
A thick drizzle from the sky, like a curtain’s sudden sweeping.
Fates and Furies
Lauren Goff, 2015
It’s fascinating to trace the trajectories of people destined to meet.
The Big Green Tent
Ludmila Ulitskaya, 2010 (tr. Polly Gannon, 2015)
Richard Chapman presumed there would be a stripper at his brother Philip’s bachelor party.
The Guest Room
Chris Bohjalian, 2016
This is the story of the life and daydreams of Mevlut Karatas, a seller of boza and yogurt.
A Strangeness in My Mind
Orhan Pamuk, 2015 (tr.Ekin Oklap, 2015)
This is how the story goes: I was born dead—or so my mother was told.
Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders
Julianna Baggott, 2015
I always left my window open at night, despite the warnings I’d been given.
The Marriage of Opposites
Alice Hoffman, 2015
The war in Zagreb began over a pack of cigarettes.
Girl at War
Sara Novic, 2015
It was a fish so ugly it didn’t seem to be a fish at all.
David Vann, 2015
Where does one story really begin?
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash, 2015
And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.
Our Souls at Night
Kent Haruf, 2015
Stillwater College sat on the fall line of South Petersburg.
Nell Zink, 2015
This morning the front page of the Diaro Vasco—for once—shares the same headline as the other Spanish newspapers.
All That Followed
Gabriel Urza, 2015
Not to be lonely, not to look back with regret, not to miss anything, always to be awake and aware. And to paint. Beautifully.
Before, During, After
Richard Bausch, 2014
I am an artist first, a censor second.
The Tsar of Love and Techno
Anthony Marra, 2015
The Sporting Club neighbourhood, the horse racing tracks beyond the tramlines.
Alexandrian Summer
Yitzhak Gormezano Goren 1978 (tr. Yardenne Greenspan, 2015)
“Oh pussycat, I’m so glad to hear your voice,” the girl’s mother said on the telephone.
Jonathan Franzen, 2015
It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22:00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of countless Australian prisons and released the locks in many other places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed.
Peter Carey, 2014
Patrolman Ronald Forbert sits in cruiser four, starting and restarting the ten-year-old Crown Victoria to keep the cabin warm.
Darkness the Color of Snow
Thomas Cobb, 2015
The fire’s rays alone lit the parlour’s gloom when I took my seat by the hearth.
Death and Mr. Pickwick
Stephen Jarvis, 2015
Dear, Family. Daughters & Ex-Wife:
Let me explain you something: I am sick in a way that no doctor would have much understanding.
Let Me Explain You
Annie Liontas, 2015
One of the great advantages of Anders’s divorce—besides, of course, the end of the squabbling and the sudden guiltless thrill of freedom—was that he no longer had to attend the Ashbys’ holiday party.
The Land of Steady Habits
Ted Thompson, 2014
She didn’t want to be a beauty queen, but as luck would have it, she was about to become one.
Funny Girl
Nick Hornby, 2014
Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.
Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee, 2015
For once, death took pity.
The Wonder of All Things
Jason Mott, 2014
The Barbers had said they would arrive by three.
The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters, 2014
D Hunter had been having sad, traumatic, musical, sometimes unspeakable, oft times prophetic dreams since he was eight.
The Lost Treasures of R&B
Nelson George, 2015
If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.
The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, 2015
Many would call me a dishonest man, but I’ve always kept faith with myself. There is an honesty in that, I think.
Green on Blue
Elliot Ackerman, 2015
After escaping from the farm, Eddie drove through the night.
Delicious Foods
James Hannaham, 2015
There was no slant to the sun—it was just there, overhead, burning, making him sweat, making his underwear bind and the shirt stick to his back as if it had been glued on, and why he’d ever let Caroline talk him into this he’d never know.
The Harder They Come
T.C. Boyle, 2015
Hunters found his body naked in the snow.
The Hunger of the Wolf
Stephen Marche, 2015
Bob found the dog two days after Christmas, the neighbourhood gone quiet in the cold, hungover and gas-bloated.
The Drop
Dennis Lehane, 2014
Last night I dreamed of Nauquasset again.
Rachel Pastan, 2014
I was no stranger to the flash of lightning; I was no stranger to the thunderbolt.
The Zone of Interest
Martin Amis, 2014
The child was just there on the stoop in the dark, hugging herself against the cold, all cried out and nearly sleeping.
Marilynne Robinson, 2014
Months earlier, the June heat on Mustang Island was gauzy and glomming.
Remember Me Like This
Bret Anthony Johnston, 2014
At midnight on Mondays, or a little after, I arrive at the Greek Mythology in Taipa, where I play on those nights when I have nowhere else to go, when I am tired of Fernando’s and the Clube Militar and the little brothel hotels on Repubblica.
The Ballad of a Small Player
Lawrence Osborne, 2014
At dusk they pour from the sky.
All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, 2014
Strange fragrances ride the twitchy, wintry air at The Shore this morning, two weeks before Christmas.
I'm Here (from Let Me Be Frank With You)
Richard Ford, 2014
They never found his hands.
The Forgers
Bradford Morrow, 2014
The young woman ahead of him in line at the Hannaford Superstore was unusually fragrant, smelled like wood smoke and dirty clothes and cough drops or maybe Ben-Gay, eucalyptus anyway.
The Remedy for Love
Bill Roorbach, 2014
“Jesus, Jam, you’d better get up already,” says my roommate, DJ Kawabata, an emo girl from Coral Gables, Florida, with “certain food issues,” as she put it vaguely.
Meg Wolitzer, 2014
The mouth is a weird place.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Joshua Ferris, 2014
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.
Everything I Never Told You
Celeste Ng, 2014
My mother used to say, “Lilian, as long as I am alive, you must have nothing to do with that woman.”
A Map of Betrayal
Ha Jin, 2014
On the steps of the old mission house, the Sergeant sat with the boy who called himself Robin, and watched a pigeon being swallowed by a pelican.
Nick Harkaway, 2014
Georgie pulled into the driveway, swerving to miss a bike.
Rainbow Rowell, 2014
“I was going to say something,” he said.
The Book of Strange New Things
Michel Faber, 2014
Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high.
Cynthia Bond, 2014
From July of his sophomore year in college until the following January, all Tsukuru Tazaki could think about was dying.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Haruki Murakami, 2014 (tr. Philip Gabriel, 2014)
At the time her mother fell down the stairs to her death in Toledo, Irene was far away in Pittsburgh, working in a lab.
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
Lydia Netzer, 2014
Dobbs wins the fight easily.
Isla Morley, 2014
The question on most women’s minds is – why doesn’t chocolate go straight to your boobs.
Courting Trouble
Kathy Lette, 2014
Usually people cried when they came here for the first time, and this girl looked as if she’d be no exception.
You Should Have Known
Jean Hanff Korelitz, 2014
One day, long before the troubles, he slipped away without saying a word to anyone and never went back.
The Last Gift
Abdulrazak Gurnah, 2014
Road Rage magazine in a commemorative issue that mourned the death of the American muscle car—killed by the Environmental Protection Agency—ran a feature on Nick Campbell in 1983.
The Spark and the Drive
Wayne Harrison, 2014
When Isaac and I first met at the university, we both pretended that the campus and the streets of the capital were as familiar to us as the dirt paths of the rural villages we had grown up and lived in until only a few months earlier, even though neither of us had ever been to a city before and had no idea what it meant to live in such close proximity to so many people whose faces, much less names, we would never know.
All Our Names
Dinaw Mengestu, 2014
A celestial light appeared to Barrett Meeks in the sky over Central Park, four days after Barrett had been mauled, once again, by love.
The Snow Queen
Michael Cunningham, 2014
He first time Sarmiento saw the woman who would become his wife, he thought she was a nun.
The City of Palaces
Michael Nava, 2014
You would think it would be impossible to find anything new in the world, creatures no man has ever seen before, one-of-a-kind oddities in which nature has taken a backseat to the coursing pulse of the fantastical and the marvelous.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things
Alice Hoffman, 2014'
The telephone rang just after five.
A Replacement Life
Boris Fishman, 2014
I never imagined I would shoot a man. Or be a father. Or live so far from the sea.
The Painter
Peter Heller, 2014
The night before the worst day of my life, I dreamed the sun went dark and ice cracked every mirror in the house, but I didn’t take it for a warning.
The Moon Sisters
Therese Walsh, 2014
Seven years ago, near the end of July 2000, was the first time he appeared at the screen door.
The Visitors
Patrick O’Keefe, 2014
These events happened a while back, when the war was not quite a war, more a prelude to a war.
American Romantic
Ward Just, 2014
Wade disappeared on us when I was nine years old, and then he showed up out of nowhere the year I turned twelve.
The Dark Road to Mercy
Wiley Cash, 2014
These are some of my favourite smells: toasting bagel, freshly cut figs, the bergamot in good Earl Grey tea, a jar of whole soybeans slowly turning beneath a tropical sun.
Soy Sauce for Beginners
Kirstin Chen, 2014
That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.
The Weight of Blood
Laura McHugh, 2014
Krazi Hari was the only person I didn’t mind calling me Meejit, because he was crazy.
Bingo’s Run
James A. Levine, 2014
Mercia Murray is a woman of fifty-two years who has been left.
Zoe Wicombe, 2014
Barnabas Pierkiel held his breath so as not to distort his reflection in a pan of water he had carried from his grandmother’s kitchen and laid on a more or less level stump.
The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel
Magdalena Zyzak, 2014
Having escaped one fire, I expected another.
Dean Koontz, 2014
I can tell you about my friend Andrew, the cognitive scientist. But it’s not pretty.
Andrew’s Brain
E. L. Doctorow, 2014

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