This question comes from Myra, who asks:
If you could pick your favourite first line(s) from any novel, what would it be and why?
I love this line because when I read it for the first time, the simile almost gave me goosebumps. Nuns equated with lust? I love, love, love it. I’d love ‘quiet as lust’ even without the nuns, actually.
-The Writer Converting Three Books Into One :O
I have TWO favorite lines:
1. “Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes.” -Lloyd Alexander, THE BOOK OF THREE
I adore this opening line because it establishes so many things–the arch tone of the novel, Taran’s yearning to be a hero, and the dynamic between him and Coll. And something about this line just makes me smile.
2. “The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” -Peter S. Beagle, THE LAST UNICORN
So, this isn’t an opening line as much as it is an opening paragraph. I actually love this one so much that I have it memorized. It perfectly sets up the bittersweet and melancholy mood for the rest of the novel, and I love the description of her moving “like a shadow on the sea.” It’s a perfect example of how lyrical and beautiful Peter S. Beagle’s prose is.
“124 was spiteful.” Beloved, by Toni Morrison.
Note from Savannah: Yeah, another Toni Morrison book! Seriously, if you guys haven’t read any of her stuff before, you should totally go buy a copy of The Bluest Eye. Beloved was the first one I read, but it’s pretty heavy and confusing.
-The Writer Revising Her Novel
Though I don’t have the book in front of me, and have a very poor memory, Vanessa assured me this was the opening line to one of my favorite books. I think this is such a great way to open the story. It’s kind of haunting, and that feeling sinks in almost immediately. And guess what? It never leaves. Utter brilliance.