Famous first lines of novels
The literary spotlight may be on today’s most popular releases, but let's look back at the classics. Revisit some of the most famous novels of all time and read the compelling first sentences that have drawn us into other worlds.
 'A Tale of Two Cities'
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; 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 directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."
"Call me Ishmael."
 'Anna Karenina'
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
"It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen."
'One Hundred Years of Solitude'
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
'The Catcher in the Rye'
"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."
 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'
"Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board."
 'The Sound and the Fury'
"Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting."
"All this happened, more or less."
'Fahrenheit 451'
"It was a pleasure to burn."
'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy'
"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."
The Color Purple'
"You better not never tell nobody but God."
'Pride and Prejudice'
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone'
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
'A Confederacy of Dunces'
"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head."