10 Favorite Opening Sentences

  1. "Willing" from "Birds of America" by Lorrie Moore
    "In her last picture, the camera had lingered at the hip, the naked hip, and even though it wasn't her hip, she acquired a reputation for being willing."
  2. "Remainder" by Tom McCarthy
    "About the accident itself I can say very little."
  3. "Blue Nights" by Joan Didion
    "In certain latitudes there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue."
  4. "Then We Came to the End" by Joshua Ferris
    "We were fractious and overpaid."
  5. "Next" by James Hynes
    "As the ground rushes up to meet him, Kevin thinks about missiles again."
  6. "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver
    "Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened."
  7. "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil" by George Saunders
    "It's one thing to be a small country, but the country of Inner Horner was so small only one Inner Hornerite at a time could fit inside, and the other six Inner Hornerites had to wait their turns to live in their own country while standing very timidly in the surrounding country of Outer Horner."
  8. "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" by Ben Fountain
    "The men of Bravo are not cold."
  9. "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell
    "Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints."
  10. "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield
    "And after all the weather was ideal."