First Lines

In a piece on the Guardian Books Blog, Lee Rourke identifies “the greatest first line of any novel I have ever read”, the opening of Ann Quin’s Berg: “A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father . . .” Some of the commenters propose their own favourite first lines, and one links to a list of the “hundred best” from a website called LitLine. There is no explanation of how the hundred were selected, or by whom, but it makes for an occasionally intriguing read.

I had been thinking of compiling a list of the hundred best opening lines from out of print pamphlets by Dobson, and maybe one day I will do so. Certainly near the top of the list would be “There was a thunderstorm, and I discovered I had mislaid my bus pass” from How I Mislaid My Bus Pass During A Thunderstorm.

Meanwhile, having managed to type a couple of paragraphs while wheezing and spluttering due to my fever-racked condition, I am going to reward myself with A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down.

One thought on “First Lines

  1. I OBJECT!!!

    How dare you promote the Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down site with their encouragement of the heretical beverage practice “tea” bag use??
    I am apoplectic Mr Key.
    These fiends incarnate, Nicey & Wifey indeed, their talk of “one bag between two” perversion sir, perversion…

    Mark my words this will lead to the downfall of society as we know it.

    I despair.

    Outa_Spaceman (Maj. Ret)

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