I wrote a little while ago about opening lines from books. I was discussing the opening to my first novel The Great Wide Open and mentioned I might list some of my favourite novel opening lines, well here goes:

(Might do some endings another time)

“Hale knew before he had been in Brighton half an hour, that they meant to kill him.”

Brighton Rock, Graham Greene

“Oh God. I feel like a refugee from a Douglas Coupland novel”.

JPod, Douglas Coupland

“I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.  I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead.”

On The Road, Jack Kerouac

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

“It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

1984, George Orwell

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like… and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it”

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

“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.”

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

“’Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ is scrawled in blood red lettering in the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street.”

American Psycho, Brett Easton-Ellis

Kerouacs Dog

October 18, 2010

I am a big fan of Jack Kerouac.

I was only just 16 the first time I read On The Road, the beat classic which Jack apparently wrote in only 3 weeks in 1952 (I recall reading somewhere he spend five years living it, three weeks writing it and five more years getting it published).

The book remains one of my major literary (and life) influences. I have read some other Kerouac, notably The Subterraneans (which also made a pretty good movie imho, featuring George Peppard the year before he made Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although the Kerouac based film is under rated by critics I feel) and would advise you the most accessible of his work is On The Road, so start there if you are interested.

A friend of mine, Oli Johnson, sometimes referred to as Oli “Oranges” Johnson, altho I have no idea why, has also been influenced by Jack and his writing.

So influenced in fact, Oli is now launching a quarterly magazine covering new writing, design and photography, called Kerouac’s Dog Magazine. I haven’t seen my copy yet, but I have ordered one.

I hope Kerouac’s Dog does well. Good luck Oli.

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