Sunday, October 25, 2009

The First Lines.

Yielding to a request from Heidi M, the world's great undiscovered photographer, I am finally posting the first lines of some of my favorite novels, starting with my most favorite seven, then randomly. I realized it's quite a lot, but I really liked these, for some reason or the other. The list is pretty gender-biased; the absence of a female writer except Alice Sebold. Some passages are not exactly one sentence, but I added as to what I deemed appropriate, or that which I feel would completely embody the thought of that passage, i.e. The Stand, American Gods. I encourage you to do it also. Kind of therapeutic while I compiled these in a small notebook yesterday afternoon.

“The boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.” Lord of the Flies, William Golding

ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.” – American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

“My suffering left me sad and gloomy.” – Life of Pi, Yann Martel

"We were fractious and overpaid." – Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris

“The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.” – Atonement, Ian McEwan

"Later than usual, one summer morning in 1984, Zoyd Wheeler drifted awake in sublight thorugh a creeping fig that hung in the window, with a squadron of blue jays stomping around the roof.” –
Vineland, Thomas Pynchon

“The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium.” – Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates ------
“In those days apartments were almost impossible to find in
Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn.” – Sophie’s Choice, William Styron

"I was born twice: first as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” – Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

"The American handed Leamas another cup of coffee and said, “Why don’t you go back to sleep? We can ring you if he shows up.” – The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John Le Carre

“So you’re all set for money, then?” the boy named Crow asks in his characteristic sluggish voice. – Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

“In eighteenth-century France, there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages.” – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Suskind

Mason City. To get to there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new. Or was new, the day we went up it.” – All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

“My legal name is Alexander Perchov. But all of my many friends dub me as Alex, because that is a more flaccid-to-utter version of my legal name.” – Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer

“The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.” – 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke

““Sally.” A mutter. “Wake up now Sally.” A louder mutter. Lemme lone. He shook her harder. “Wake up. You got to wake up!” Charlie. Charlie’s voice. Calling her. For how long?” – The Stand, Stephen King

“She was so deeply imbedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teacher was my mother in disguise.” – Portnoy’s Complaint, Phillip Roth

“Charlie Croker, astride his favorite Tennessee walking horse, pulled his shoulders back to make sure he was erect in the saddle and took a deep breath… Ahh, that was the ticket…” – A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe

Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. During our friendship he had rehearsed his death in many crashes, but this was his only true accident.” – Crash, JG Ballard

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – 1984, George Orwell

“Back in the late 1970s, when I was fifteen years old, I spent every penny I then had in the bank to fly across the continent in a 747 jet to Brandon, Manitoba, deep in the Canadian prairies, to witness a total eclipse of the sun.” – Generation X, Douglas Coupland

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” - The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before.” – A Separate Peace, John Knowles

“Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough, that his biggest problem was killing time.” American Gods, Neil Gaiman

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting