Tag: Anna Karenina

First lines.

I didn’t grow up in the tradition of memorizing great swaths of poetry or prose (this is an entire subject of great regret) so it means something when I can quote a first line without pulling out the book. Think about this. It is one line. The first line. The one read before all the others on hundreds of pages, and yet it sticks in the mind. For example – Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. (Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind) The small boys came early to the hanging. (Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth) The last camel collapsed at noon. (Ken Follett, The Key to Rebecca) The gale tore at him and he felt its bite deep within and he knew that if they did not make landfall in three days they would all be dead. (James Clavell, Shogun) Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina) More recently – Lydia is dead. They they don’t know this yet. (Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You) The snow in the mountains was melting […]

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