The 13 greatest opening lines from novels of the 1950s


There are many things that make us read the first page of a book. It can be an author’s reputation, a favourable review, a recommendation by a trusted friend or a breathtaking cover. Yet all these pale into insignificance compared against the importance of a wonderful opening line. A book, of course, won’t stand or fall on the very first line of prose, but a really good first line can do so much to establish that crucial sense of voice. It’s the first thing that acquaints the reader, which makes them eager and enlists them for the long haul. So there’s incredible power in it, when it says, Come in here. You want to know about this and someone does just that.

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