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You are right, first sentence has to be provocative. Of all the examples you have provided, I don't think all of them have great first sentences, but still are wonderful books.
I recently 'listened' to A passage to India. Loved every moment of it. Such vividness.


"There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia."

Maximum City (Suketu Mehta)


Alpha, the list was more of the kind where the first sentence reflected the essence of the book rather well, than one with great first sentences. I found the resonance of some of those sentences only after I read the book.

Listening to a book is something I haven't tried: my drive to work lasts less than 10 minutes. But about listening to A Passage to India, I wonder how it feels to hear Indian and English characters speaking through the same voice. Did the narrator vary the accents while switching between characters? Did that sound natural?

Leela, that is an alarming statistic. Imagine the possiblities in such a city!


Yes, the narrator did an awesome job..tis to be heard to be believed. He switched from British accent to Indian accent pretty well. He even used female voices when appropriate. Other than on a long drive, I don't see myself listening to books...like at home or something.


And which was the book that inspired this post?


Interesting :)


Call me Ishmael
--Moby Dick

I recall reading a list of "first sentences" somewhere. I can't find the link now.


I think I have it somewhere Patrix. Will hunt for it, for a fee ;-)


Anita, it was actually the first sentences in each of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities that got me thinking about the power of first sentences.

some body

aah ... someone is preparing for jeopardy, i see!

- s.b.

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