The Orange Prize for Fiction announced the 2011 shortlist. The Prize, which is in its sixteenth year, celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.
These novels must be the perfect works to study effective opening sentences?
These are the Orange Prize for Fiction finalists' first sentences:
Memory Of Love ~ Aminatta Forna
On the iron-framed bed a single, scant sheet has moulded itself to the form of the human beneath.
Room ~ Emma Donoghue
Today I am five.
Grace Williams Says It Loud ~ Emma Henderson
A shadow made me start as my mother's face loomed towards me where I lay, eight months old, tongue-tied, spastic and flailing on the coarse rug.
Great House ~ Nichole Krauss
Talk to him.
Your Honour, in the winter of 1972 R and I broke up, or should I say he broke up with me.
The Tiger's Wife ~
In my earliest memory , my grandfather is bald as a stone, and he takes me to see tigers.
time of great importance to Labradorians who hunted ducks for food - and he was born like most children in that place in 1968 surrounded by women his mother had known all her married life: Joan Martin, Elizabeth Gondie and Thomasina Baikie.
My investigation was flawed ;) I hedged my bets over whether the Nichole Krauss' first sentence counted - it looked like a subheading. And I should have left Kathleen Winter's first sentence as the single word of dialogue in her Prologue but I loved the opening sentence from the main body of the novel. ;)
What did I learn?
There is no formula for writing the perfect notable opening.
Despite my love of THE Jane Austin sentence, this is my favourite hook:
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)