Ten worst opening lines in novels


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The blogger blogged doggedly as the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when the blogger watched videos of cats (for it is the internet where our scene lies).

apologies to Edward Bulwer-Lytton


I agree re: Tartt - I got through 3/5 of “The Goldfinch” before I just gave up. Also, I expected to see “Roark laughed.” as one of the worst - because I’ve always kind of liked it as a first sentence. It’s just the rest that was so terrible.


See, this line could be awesome if the floor was actually covered in sticky butts and that’s why the castmember slipped.

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People who do it on purpose are way better.



No “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City”?


No fair, I stopped reading that book at the title.

The only way it could be worse is if they had appended the word “Rises” to the end of the title.

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You might want to check out the date of the linked post. It is, at least somewhat, amusing.

I feel there should be a moratorium on beating up Bulwer-Lytton*. I’ve never read any of his work beyond a few sentences, and I think if I did I’d be too tempted to cut him some slack.

*Destined to appear in The American Scholar’s list of the ten worst opening lines in comment sections.

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Steel Beech opening line:

In five years the penis will become obsolete.

Unfortunately the rest of the book never quite lived up to that.

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I’m betting the worst exists in one of these types of books:

One Sentence Says It All

Or anything written by Martin Amis. God damn I hate his books. But apparently, from the linked article:

No book worth its salt is meant to put you to sleep…it’s meant to make you jump out of bed in your underwear and run and beat the author’s brains out.

So I guess, kudos to you Amis. Kudos.

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I guess you won’t be rushing to the adaptation of London Fields, then?

(I won’t, I’ve read that book twice and I still can’t work out why people like it so much).

Money and Time’s Arrow I do like, however.

Lionel Asbo was rubbish, though.

The night was sultry


It’s horrifying; if I am to be truthful, I must admit that I can see he has skill as a writer and that he is almost certainly attempting to elicit the type of reaction from people like me that I have toward his… ‘style’ (?) but…

I always wanted there to be a book about a successful sausage maker that started with It was the best of times, it was the wurst of times;.

Perhaps A Confederacy of Dunces could have led off in that fashion.

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I know I know. What’s actually wrong with dark and stormy nightiness? At least it’s brief. What was with C M Schultz anyway?

Ah, but it is not brief – behold in all its glory:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Jeez. One little typesetting error over a full stop.

I’ve read worse.

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