What is your favourite opening sentence from a classic novel (and why)?
And the line that comes to my mind right off is of course this one:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Did you notice? We actually get a twofer with this one! The best first line AND paragraph!
I don't know why I love this one so much, probably because there's so much that it's saying here. It paints the picture of this troubled time so well, right from the start. The opposites of life opposing each other, the frustration, the edge of something big happening yet something terrible had to happen first. I don't know, it just hits you hard, this first line.
By the way, this book has the best last line too:
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
Oh, wait! You'd like to know the book? A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens of course!
What would be your favorite first line from a classic?