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The best opening lines in books


The opening line of a novel is arguably its most important line. After all, its whole purpose is to hook you in to want to read the rest.


Some opening lines have stood the test of time, to almost become classics in their own right. They are instantly recognisable, almost everybody may have heard or read them, even if they are not entirely certain of their source.



Here are 10 of some of the best/well known opening lines in fiction:


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

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen



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

1984, George Orwell



3. “Call me Ishmael."

Moby Dick, Herman Melville



4. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect"

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka



5. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens



6. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.”

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald



7. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect"

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka



8. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier



9. “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling



10. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?"

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll



How many have you read?

Do you have a favourite first line of a novel?





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