22 Powerful Opening Lines from Novels

Book Cave
4 min readAug 8, 2020


The opening line of a novel should pull you in, and there a lot of books out there that do exactly that. Here are 22 powerful opening lines that we love. Do you recognize any of them?

  1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  2. We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
  3. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  4. Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.
  5. 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.
  6. Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.
  7. 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.
  8. After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Calaena Sardothiem was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.
  9. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
  10. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.
  11. This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
  12. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
  13. It was a pleasure to burn.
  14. The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.
  15. It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.
  16. You better not never tell nobody but God.
  17. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.
  18. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
  19. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
  20. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
  21. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
  22. The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

And here are the answers!

  1. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  2. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  3. George Orwell, 1984
  4. Brandon Sanderson, Elantris
  5. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  6. Albert Camus, The Stranger
  7. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  8. Sarah J Maas, Throne of Glass
  9. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
  10. Anita Brookner, The Debut
  11. William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  12. C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  13. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  14. James Patterson, The Angel Experiment
  15. Roald Dahl, Matilda
  16. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  17. Charles Johnson, Middle Passage
  18. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  19. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  20. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  21. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  22. S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River

What powerful opening lines from novels do you love? Join the conversation and check out our daily free ebook deals at mybookcave.com.

Happy Reading!

Originally published at https://mybookcave.com on August 8, 2020.



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