Any writer can tell you the first sentence is the hardest to write. As readers, it can be the difference between continuing a book or passing it over. It grips us or bores us, and gives a hint of what we’re in for with the rest of the novel. So we know these sentences are important. But how well can you actually remember them?
"On the 24th of May, 1863, my uncle, Professor Liedenbrock, rushed into his little house, No. 19 Königstrasse, one of the oldest streets in the oldest portion of the city of Hamburg."
"In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains."
"The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon."
"The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn."
"Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes."
"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."
"1801.-- I have just returned from a visit to my landlord -- the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with."
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
"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."
"All this happened, more or less."
QUIZ: Can You Guess the Classic by its First Sentence?
How did you do? Tell us in the comments, and challenge a friend!