Private: First sentences

John Barth’s The End of the Road:

In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

A.S. Byatt’s Possession:

The book was thick and black and covered with dust.

Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep:

It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground (Trans. Michael R. Katz):

I am a sick man.

Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair:

A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one choses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

A.L. Kennedy’s Original Bliss:

Mrs. Brindle lay on her living-room floor, watching her ceiling billow and blink with the cold, cold colours and the shadows of British Broadcast light.

Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There:

It was Sunday.

Philip Roth’s The Human Stain:

It was in the summer of 1998 that my neighbor Coleman Silk–who, before retiring two years earlier, had been a classic profesor at nearby Athena College for some twenty-odd years as well as serving for seventeen more as the dean of the faculty–confided to me that, at the age of seventy-one, he was having an affair with a thirty-four-year-old cleaning woman who worked down at the college.

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History:

Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature?

Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter:

A nurse held the door open for them.