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Best first lines in a novel.

There was an article in the guardian last week about the best first lines in a novel, their suggestions were excellent and I generally agreed with them but I, like many others have my own favourite first lines.

I thought to add them here.


The palace is as large as a good sized town, for through the centuries its outbuildings,its lodges, its guest houses,the mansions of its lords and ladies in waiting,have been linked by covered ways,and those covered ways roofed, in turn,so that here and there we find corridors within corridors,like conduits in a tunnel,houses within rooms,these rooms within castles,those castles within artificial caverns,the whole roofed again with tiles of gold and platinum and silver,marble and mother-of-pearl,so that the palace glares with a thousand colours in the sunlight,shimmers constantly in the moonlight,its walls appearing to undulate,its roofs rise and fall like a glamorous tide,its towers and minarets lifting like the masts and hulks of sinking ships.

Not only is the sentence stupendously long but it sets out completely the stage where the drama is set.


Another that I have always loved comes from Peter Hoeg's "miss Smilla's feeling for snow" and it is;

It’s freezing, an extraordinary 0 Fahrenheit and its snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik, big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground

with a layer of pulverized white frost.

Do check out the guardian article for other really good first lines. It is available here.

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