The absolute best first line ever

A bit of fun today. What is the best first line you’ve seen in a published book?

I nominate:

I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.

from John Scalzi Old Man’s War

I opened this in the bookshop and I knew I was SO going to buy that book!


4 comments on “The absolute best first line ever

  1. Ooh, fun!

    My fave recently was “I used to be a homicide detective and even I’ve never seen this before. The corpse isn’t moving.”

    – from ‘Dead America’ by Luke Keoskie.

    I just HAD to keep reading after that!

  2. Hey! That’s three sentences!

    Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea:
    “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

  3. Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
    from Northen Lights by Philip Pullman

  4. ‘The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.’

    Stephen King, The Gunslinger (Volume 1 of the Dark Tower series).

    You can’t half tell that this book was originally published as short stories/novellas. It doesn’t waste a single word.

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