Killer Opening Lines in Novels

The first lines are way more important than the cover, IMHO (Kelly talking.) Here are my favorite starters of fiction. "The moose head was fixed to the wall, the microphone in its mouth was broken, but the camera in its left eye was working just fine, and as far as the moose head could see, this was just another Friday night in the Lumber Lodge! Perhaps even more Friday night than most Friday nights."

The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke “The heat came with the devil. It was the summer of 1984, and while the devil had been invited, the heat had not.... If looks were to be believed, he still was just a boy. Something of my age, though from his solemn quietude, I knew he was old in the soul. A boy whose black crayon would be the shortest in his box.”

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


“On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide—it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills—the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.”

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”

A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul


Someone must have slandered Josef K., because one morning, without his having done anything bad, he was arrested.

The Trial by Franz Kafka


In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers


One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon


"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

The Go-Between by LP Hartley


“I'm thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It's always there. Always.”

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid


"It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer."

The Thing on the Doorstep by HP Lovecraft


“We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge.”

Darker Than Amber by John D. MacDonald "It was a pleasure to burn."

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


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