Here Are My Top Thirteen Best First Sentences in Literature:
13. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. (Paul Auster, City of Glass)
12. A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hill-side bank and runs deep and green. (John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men)
11. A screaming comes across the sky. (Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow)
10. He was born in an air-raid shelter — and his first wail was drowned by the shriek of bombs, the thunder of falling walls and the coughing chatter of machine guns raking the sky. (L Ron Hubbard, Final Blackout)
9. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. (Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche)
8. A voice comes to one in the dark. (Samuel Beckett, Company)
7. Howard Roark laughed. (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead)
6. See the child. (Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian)
5. On an exceptionally hot evening in early July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment).
4. In lower Manhattan, there is an improbable point where Waverly Place intersects Waverly Place. (Nicolas Christopher, Veronica)
3. There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo to the hills. (Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country).
2. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. (George Eliot, Middlemarch).
1. If it made any real sense — and it doesn’t even begin to — I think I might be inclined to dedicate this account, for whatever it’s worth, especially if it’s the least bit ribald in parts, to the memory of my late, ribald stepfather, Robert Agadganian, Jr. (J.D. Salinger, De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period)