I’m often struck by the opening sentence of a novel or short story. It can draw me in and set expectations for what’s to come. This isn’t always true, of course, but a story’s first line is the author’s opening salvo. It may be a “hook” or may operate on a more subtle level, if it does at all. The first sentence can foretell something about the story, or may set the tone for the entire work. Some first sentences have a magnetic power and draw me in, raising my curiosity, nearly forcing me to read on. Others simply strike me because they resonate on some deep level of which I’m unaware. The opening sentence may be a clue about how I will spend a number of hours.
I’ve gathered 14 first sentences from randomly chosen novels, and one from a short story. They’re presented in no particular order. Some are famous opening lines; others are not. Some presage what’s to come; others don’t. I think each one is interesting in its own way.