54 great opening lines: 44

What actually woke him was the unearthly sound itself – a mournful shatter of frozen midnight falling to earth to pierce his heart and lodge there forever, never to move, never to melt – but he, being who he was, assumed it was his bladder. The Crane Wife, Patrick Ness ***** This morning my daughter-in-law,… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 43

Henry Holden decided to get an Italian prisoner-of-war after he had seen several at work on Esmond’s farm. The Enthusiastic Prisoner, E. O. Schlunke ***** Another short story by Schlunke, the author of The Irling which I wrote about a couple of days ago.  This line, beginning with a very Australian name, Henry Holden, caught… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 42

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë ***** A joyless book.  I recently read it a second time in search of at least one happy moment but found none.  Flicking through the book today, I came across passage… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 41

While old Kronitz’s youngest son Waltie was being born without qualified assistance, the old man paced the veranda that ran around all four sides of his large, bungalow-style house, annoyed with his wife for her bad judgement after all her experience, and refusing to admit that he should have sent for the community’s wise woman… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 40

Helen of Troy awakes just before dawn to the sound of air raid sirens. Olympos, Dan Simmons ***** This is science fiction, from my husband’s bookshelf;  I’ve been searching his collection for something new to read.  The opening line got me in and I continued reading the rest of the page.  That was enough.  I’m… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 39

It was a dejected-looking little tropical town situate some forty miles or more up a hot muddy river that wound back and forward, and back again, and round about as no river ever wound and serpentined before. The Deeply Poetic Account of a Midsummer Night’s Idyll, James Edmond ***** By the time I reached the… Continue reading



54 great opening lines: 37

Marley was dead: to begin with. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens ***** I love a story with a good moral, the type of story with a bad character who turns good;  it’s a formula based on the possibility that no one is without hope.  I read such stories to be spurred on.  The film Groundhog… Continue reading



54 great opening lines: 35

When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien ***** There couldn’t be a better start to a sequel to The Hobbit.