MOST ARRESTING OPENING LINES
I thought about returning to my comfort zone of C19th literature, but decided instead to pick something a little more modern.
A couple of years ago I went to my local independent book store to watch Dennis Lehane read from his novel, Live by Night. Lehane is a great speaker, and told some extremely funny anecdotes about his writing career, the film industry, and newspaper critics. In particular he mentioned a critic from the NYT who when reading a preview copy of Live by Night, commented that it moved rather slowly. Lehane then read the opening paragraph, and remarked, "I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty fucking fast."
Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin’s feet were placed in a tub of cement. Twelve gunmen stood waiting until they got far enough out to sea to throw him overboard, while Joe listened to the engine chug and watched the water churn white at the stern. And it occurred to him that almost everything of note that had ever happened in his life—good or bad—had been set in motion the morning he first crossed paths with Emma Gould.
Yep, I think Mr Lehane has a point there. And that line reminds me of another great opening line...
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice...”
How can you not want carry on reading One Hundred Years of Solitude after reading that?