The Best 10 Opening Lines in Novels



This is a collection of remembered and though provoking opening lines from famous novels. An opening line can really set the pace for the remainder of the novel and draw readers into the narrative.


“It was the day my grandmother exploded.” – Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road


“It was love at first sight.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22


“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“Someone must have slandered Josef K., because one morning, without his having done anything bad, he was arrested.” – Franz Kafka, The Trial


“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984


“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea


“The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.” – Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea


“The Sun shone, having no alternative on the nothing new.” – Samuel Beckett, Murphy


“It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.” – Paul Auster, City of Glass