There is a lot to say about a good beginning for a novel. Some famous gatekeepers-literary agents and editors- in publishing in the Anglo-Saxon world have their say:
“A story must begin with an immediate hook’ Julie Castiglia.
“Don’t be vague,establish a clean sense of time, place and potential conflict” Senior editor Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
“I can tell on the first page, the first paragraph,even, whether a writer can write” Faris Literary agent.
“Never open with scenery! Novels are about people about human condition. That’s why we read them.”
From a list of 100 best first lines which the editors of American book review selected I chose eleven that I like most.
1. Call me Ishmael: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, 1851.
2. It is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife : Jan Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813
3. Lolita, light of my life, life of my loins : Vladimir NaboKov, Lolita 1955.
4. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way: Leon Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1877.
5.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 : Charles Dickens, A tale of Two cities, 1885.
6. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. Ha Jin,Waiting,1999.
7. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925.
8. The moment one learns English , complications set in. Felipe Alfau, Chromos, 1990.
9. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L.P Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953.
10.Justice?-You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law. William Gadis,A frolic of his own, 1994.
11. He was born with a gift of laugther and a sense that the world was mad Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche, 1921.
p.s Θα ήθελα να γράψω πολύ για τα ελληνικά βιβλία, αλλά σαν μικρή χώρα όπου το βιβλίο δεν παίζει και ιδιαίτερο ρόλο στην κοινωνία και κατά επέκταση σαν προιόν στη αγορά δεν υπάρχουν τέτοια στοιχεία.
Update : nice to see my blog highlighted by wordpress 1st page for books!!! 🙂