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Old 7th Jan 2007, 15:24   #1
John from Paris
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Default And another batch of opening lines...

Right, here goes.
[David Lodge, Therapy] Now here are ten more:

Clues
All in the original English
Five women, five men
Three British, four American, three neither

01 She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance. She has sensed a shift in the weather. There is another gust of wind, a buckle of noise in the air, and the tall cypresses sway.

02 I planned my death carefully; unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it. My life had a tendency to spread, to get flabby, to scroll and festoon like the frame of a baroque mirror, which came from following the line of least resistance.

03 You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head.

04 Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw', that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.

05 Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance? Was the good or the evil genius dominant in those beams? Probably the evil; else why was the effect that of unrest rather than of undisturbed charm? Why was the wish to look again felt as coercion and not as a longing in which the whole being consents?

06 My name, in those days, was Susan Trinder. People called me Sue. I know the year I was born in, but for many years I did not know the date, and took my birthday at Christmas. I believe I am an orphan. My mother I know is dead.

07 Once our father bought a convertible. Don't ask me. I was five. He bought it and drove it home as casually as he'd bring a gallon of rocky road. Picture our mother's surprise. She kept rubber bands on the doorknobs. She washed old plastic bags and hung them on the line to dry, a string of thrifty tame jellyfish floating in the sun.

08 My lord, when you ask me to tell the court in my own words, this is what I shall say. I am kept locked up here like some exotic animal, last survivor of a species they had thought extinct. They should let in people to view me, the girl-eater, svelte and dangerous, padding to and fro in my cage, my terrible green glance flickering past the bars, give them something to dream about, tucked up cosy in their beds of a night.

09 124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.

10 An author ought to consider himself, not as a gentleman who gives a private or eleemosynary treat, but rather as one who keeps a public ordinary, at which all persons are welcome for their money.
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 18:33   #2
John Self
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

I'm going to be really annoying by thinking I know five of these.

1. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

3. Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

4. Donna Tartt, The Secret History

8. John Banville, The Book of Evidence

9. Toni Morrison, Beloved
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 18:42   #3
John from Paris
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

Very impressive indeed, Monsieur Self, five out of five, all the more as the only pretty notorious one (these days) I chose is Beloved.

Interesting that you haven't got any of the British ones... yet...

Last edited by John from Paris; 10th Jan 2007 at 21:55.
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 18:47   #4
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

How curious, I always think of myself as an Anglocentric reader.

No 6 sounds vaguely familiar but I can't place it.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 9:59   #5
amner
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

Is 6. Never Let Me Go?
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 10:28   #6
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

I don't think so; Never Let Me Go begins something like "My name is Kathy H. I have been a carer for some eleven years now." 6 would be easy to google of course but...
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 11:08   #7
John from Paris
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

Quote:
Originally Posted by amner View Post
Is 6. Never Let Me Go?
No: it is almost as recent, though, and is the most recent of the ten.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 11:18   #8
Ang
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

I would like to know what #7 is - great opening.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 11:46   #9
John from Paris
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

Openings 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9 would I think all have me highly intrigued, must confess, if I didn't already know what they were.
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Old 9th Jan 2007, 14:12   #10
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Default Re: And another batch of opening lines...

Number 10 is Tom Jones by Fielding. I think we had this one before as I remember the word "eleemosynary" (although not what it means).
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