First Lines

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
First lines are the entry into a novel. If you're like me, you read the first few lines, paragraphs or even pages when browsing for something to read. And if you're like me, a good first line can pull you straight into a story and have you at the till, ready to purchase, without a second thought. 
I felt like this when I opened Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups and read, One upon a time there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.
I so wanted to know more.
The most famous first line is probably Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
What many of us don't know is that it went on a good bit further: 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 - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
A whopper of a first line and certainly not as memorable.
We will be running a first lines competition and airing our Hookline 2012 entries for public vote. In the meantime, we would like to know your favourite first line.

 


Tags: "first lines" "charles dickens" "anne tyler" "hookline novel competition" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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