Top 10 Literary Works With the Best Opening Sentence

This list is for the best opening sentence (singular) in prose fiction. Opening lines (plural) are disallowed. I tried to include those sentences that at once intrigue the reader and inform him/her of the tenor of the work. Like any of these type of lists, what I would include changes almost daily. I didn't include the very famous opening lines from "Moby Dick" or "A Tale of Two Cities," not because they aren't good, but because I didn't want to today. I also present the sentence in the comments section without any editorializing by me. The sentence speaks for itself. Whichever work you choose, be sure to give its sentence a thumbs up so that the sentence remains at the top of the comments section...

The Top Ten

1 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving Product Image

"I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice - not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany. "

2 1984 - George Orwell 1984 - George Orwell Product Image

"It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

3 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen Product Image

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

4 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy Product Image

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

5 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger Product Image

"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."

6 Peter and Wendy - J.M. Barrie Peter and Wendy - J.M. Barrie Product Image

"All children, except one, grow up."

7 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers Product Image

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

8 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury Product Image

"It was a pleasure to burn. ”

9 The Violent Bear it Away - Flannery O'Connor The Violent Bear it Away - Flannery O'Connor Product Image

"Francis Marion Tarwater's uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up."

10 Paradise - Toni Morrison Paradise - Toni Morrison Product Image

"They shoot the white girl first."

The Contenders

11 A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini Product Image

Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami.

12 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain Product Image

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

BAdd New Item