Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > User Forums > Palimpton Crescent

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29th Nov 2006, 18:49   #1
John from Paris
Palimpsestarian
laughs in the face of fear
 
John from Paris's Avatar
 
Join Date: 24 Sep 2006
Location: Paris (since 1985)
Posts: 982
Default Yet more first lines...

Looks like I can now start my own thread, so here goes. Not very original, but first lines are a favourite of mine... So here goes... all originally written in English. Twentieth-century novels, with one short story.
And as a tantalising twist, five of them written by men, five by women.

EDIT: they were all identified in under 48 hours by the combined talents of various Palimpsestarians [so don't scroll down if you don't want the answers straight away].

01 From the window all that could be seen was a receding area of grey. It was to be supposed that beyond the grey garden, which seemed to sprout nothing but the stiffish leaves of some unfamiliar plant, lay the vast grey lake, spreading like an anaesthetic toward the invisible further shore [...]

02 The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind. In the midst of winter you can feel the inventions of spring. A sky of hot nude pearl until midday, crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes....

03 Dora Greenfield left her husband because she was afraid of him. She decided six months later to return to him for the same reason.

04 'Darling, don't be silly, of course there isn't going to be a nuclear war.'

05 I'm writing a history of the world,' she says. And the hands of the nurse are arrested for a moment; she looks down at this old woman, this old ill woman. 'Well, my goodness,' the nurse says. 'That's quite a thing to be doing, isn't it?'

06 I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of the heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night [...]

07 Now it is the autumn again; the people are all coming back. The recess of summer is over, when holidays are taken, newspapers shrink, history itself seems momentarily to falter and stop.

08 It was an uncertain spring. The weather, perpetually changing, sent clouds of blue and of purple flying over the land.

09 Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.

10 A man was waiting already on the narrow island of the tram-stop, and I asked him falteringly about the routes. He explained politely, in detail, as if it were quite an interest of his; but I didn't take it in. I was charmed by his grey eyes and unnecessary smile, and the flecks of white paint on his nose and his dark-blond hair.

Last edited by John from Paris; 4th Jan 2007 at 8:57.
John from Paris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2006, 19:04   #2
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

5 is Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger.

10 is Alan Hollinghurst's The Folding Star.

And that's all I know!
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2006, 19:13   #3
John from Paris
Palimpsestarian
laughs in the face of fear
 
John from Paris's Avatar
 
Join Date: 24 Sep 2006
Location: Paris (since 1985)
Posts: 982
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

Right so far, JS.
John from Paris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 17:17   #4
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

Any clues for the others?
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 17:27   #5
Kimberley
Senior Palimpsester
could do better
 
Kimberley's Avatar
 
Join Date: 15 Aug 2006
Location: near London
Posts: 1,902
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

The first is Hotel du Lac, Anita Brookner, and the third is Iris Murdoch's The Bell.

You've got quite good taste, John from Paree.

ETA: oooh, and the sixth is Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. I'm guessing all women, ooops.
Kimberley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 17:35   #6
paddyjoe
Palimpsestarian
is a palimpsestin' fool!
 
paddyjoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: 28 Apr 2006
Location: Embra
Posts: 659
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

7 is The History Man - Malcolm Bradbury, and is 6 Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber?
__________________
Currently Reading: The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro
Read:
14 13
12 11
paddyjoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 18:34   #7
John from Paris
Palimpsestarian
laughs in the face of fear
 
John from Paris's Avatar
 
Join Date: 24 Sep 2006
Location: Paris (since 1985)
Posts: 982
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

Spot on, Kimberley and paddyjoe!
The Iris Murdoch one is one of my all-time favourite opening sentences [EDIT: one of my all-time favourite pairs of opening sentences...].

So that leaves just one woman, and three men.
Here are some clues:

General clues
•All the writers are well-known and critically acclaimed.
•Of the four remaining writers, three are dead, though one of them died only last year.

Specific clues
02 Published in the late fifties.
04 This novel has been referred to as an "apprentice work" by a writer subsequently much more widely read.
08 This novel marked a return to a more traditional style for an author almost exclusively considered as experimental.
09 i) The last paragraph of this novel is: "That evening, in Oxford, leaning beside Jane in her kitchen while she cooked supper for them, Dan told her with a suitable irony that at least he had found a last sentence for the novel he was never going to write. She laughed at such flagrant Irishry; which is perhaps why, in the end, and in the knowledge that Dan's novel can never be read, lies eternally in the future, his ill-concealed ghost has made that impossible last his own impossible first."
ii) In an Amazon review of this novel, someone has said that this author's "descriptions of Dartmoor and Devon made me want to rush back there."



PS I'm becoming totally addicted to this site ... I'd love to come to York next year, but I almost certainly can't... Maybe you could all pop over to Paris at some point?

PPS I know from a recent post of his that JS definitely hasn't read number 04...

Last edited by John from Paris; 11th Dec 2006 at 18:48. Reason: accuracy
John from Paris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 18:59   #8
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

Hm, would number 8 then be Woolf's Between the Acts? Or the one she wrote after The Waves but before Between the Acts (the title of which eludes me)?

If I haven't read no 4, then I'm guessing it's Jonathan Coe's first novel...? Don't know the title though.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 19:01   #9
Kimberley
Senior Palimpsester
could do better
 
Kimberley's Avatar
 
Join Date: 15 Aug 2006
Location: near London
Posts: 1,902
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

JS, I was thinking Virginia Woolf for no.8, too. It's not Between the Acts though
Kimberley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th Nov 2006, 19:06   #10
John from Paris
Palimpsestarian
laughs in the face of fear
 
John from Paris's Avatar
 
Join Date: 24 Sep 2006
Location: Paris (since 1985)
Posts: 982
Default Re: Yet more first lines...

You're both red hot here...

Yes, it is the VW novel between The Waves and Between the Acts... You'd have found the title easily enough: The Years

It's not Coe's first novel, but yes, it's him: A Touch of Love

That leaves the hardest two...
John from Paris is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Last Lines amner Palimpton Crescent 32 19th Aug 2005 12:07
Next lines ono no komachi Palimpton Crescent 19 16th Jun 2005 12:11
Even more first lines amarie Palimpton Crescent 17 5th May 2005 12:19
Further First Lines John Self Palimpton Crescent 15 4th May 2005 11:50
More First Lines John Self Palimpton Crescent 21 8th Apr 2005 20:55


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 20:38.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.