Friday, August 8, 2008
BTT: Beginnings and Endings
(From 24 July 2008): What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?
The first sentence of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has always stuck in my mind:
'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'
Then there's the first sentence of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, which rather alarmed me when I first read it. I'd had no idea what the story was going to be about, and was expecting something quite highbrow and serious (which I guess it was, but I certainly wasn't expecting a line like that!):
'As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.'
And then there's the first (rather long) sentence of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities:
'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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.'
(From 31 July 2008): What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?
I think the last line that will always stick in my mind is (again) from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities:
'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.'
I positively bawled when I was reading that. I don't think any other line can top that!