Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Beginnings

According to the Booking Through Thursday website, it’s not a terrible faux pas if I post this late, so here goes...

The question was: “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?”

I knew the answer to this question immediately, or at least I knew which book contains my favourite first sentence: The Last Magician by Janette Turner Hospital. The only problem is that I don’t remember the actual sentence word for word and at the moment all my books are in storage (with a few exceptions), so there is no way for me to check what it is. It’s taken me the better part of a week to figure out that maybe, just maybe, the book is available on Google Book Search... and sure enough it is. The first sentence is:

“In the middle of the journey, I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost.”

Intrigued? Of course this is a paraphrase of the beginning of Dante’s Inferno, although I confess I didn’t know that when I first read the book.

Other first sentences (from some of the novels I have on hand):

“A single line of blood trickles down the pale underside of her arm, a red seam on a white sleeve.” (Labyrinth by Kate Mosse)

“The Wednesday Sisters look like the kind of women who might meet at those fancy coffee shops on University—we do look that way—but we’re not one bit fancy, and we’re not sisters either.” (The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton)

“It is difficult to know quite where to begin this story, but I have fixed my choice on a certain Wednesday at luncheon at the Vicarage.” (The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie)