Great opening lines in literature

Artist: Jodi Harvey Brown

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on nothing new.” Samuel Beckette, Murphy

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

They say when trouble come close ranks, and so the white people did.” Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

“A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.” John Kennedy Toole, A confederacy of Dunces

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.” Vladimir Nabokov

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. J.D Salinger, The Catcher In The Rye

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

“As Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” Frank Kafka: Metamorphosis

“All children, except one, grow up.” J.M Barrie Peter Pan

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Time In The Love of Cholera


first lines

View More Work By Jacek Poprawski