Saturday, 27 October 2007

Thursday Thirteen on Saturday - Opening Lines

I don't do memes. But I'm doing this one. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, right? We all know that.

Here are thirteen opening lines from thirteen novels. Which ones can you guess? Correct answers will be inserted as they come in.

(Too late folks; it's over. I'm putting all the answers in now.)

1. "I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, guessed by Annie #2

2. "Matrimony was ordained, thirdly," said Jane Studdock to herself, "for the mutual society, help, and comfort that the one ought to have of the other."
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, guessed by Annie.

3. It came by mail, the old-fashioned way, since the Judge was almost eighty and distrusted modern devices.
The Summons by John Grisham, guessed by Anonymous (part way) and Annie #2.

4. No knowledge has come down of Joseph Knecht's origins.
The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Hermann Hesse, guessed by Vomaxx at AW, who didn't turn up to put it in the comments here.

5. A squat grey building of only thirty-four storeys.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, guessed by Danika.

6. The news hit the British High Commission in Nairobi at nine-thirty on a Monday morning.
The Constant Gardener by John LeCarré, guessed by Eva.

7. The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-wracked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin, guessed by Poodlerat.

8. The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, guessed by Poodlerat.

9. My name is Perry L. Crandall and I am not retarded.
Lottery by Patricia Wood, guessed by Annie.

10. Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, guessed by Annie #2.
Follow this up with the second sentence, and I consider it one of the best openings I've ever read.
Never before had Brother Francis actually seen a pilgrim with girded loins, but that this one was the bona fide article he was convinced as soon as he had recovered from the spin-chilling effect of the pilgrim's advent on the far horizon, as a wiggling iota of black caught in a shimmering haze of heat.
Great voice, sense of place, unusual but effective description and a good sense of the dry but sympathetic humour that characterizes the book. By the end of this second sentence I was smitten.

11. Here was the least common denominator of nature, the skeleton requirements simply, of land and sky - Saskatchewan prairie.
Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell, guessed by the husband of Danika.

12. In the tombs of Kursi sits a man with his back to the sea.
Madman by Tracy Groot. Fantastic book, see my review in the previous post.

13. The cabin-passenger wrote in his diary a parody of Descartes: 'I feel discomfort, therefore I am alive,' then sat pen in hand with no more to record.
A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene. I was more than a little surprised that no one got this one.

And that's it for this time.

You can find the original here, but I found it through Superfast Reader. Oh, and Poodlerat has done one too.

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annie said...


#2 is That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis

#9 is The Lottery by Patricia Wood

Janet said...

Annie, you nailed them both.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Durn, I'm stumped.

I'm pretty sure I've read #1 and when you say what it is I'm going to smack my head.

I know #5 is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, but only because I was just on this site earlier today:

I had done a search for first lines from famous novels out of curiosity. So, I guess that doesn't count. Haha.

So, when should we reveal?

This makes me think that I need to read more books!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

P.S. I have read Brave New World... but I wouldn't have remembered that as the first line if I hadn't been on that page earlier today. :-)

Janet said...

Danika, never argue with serendipity. I wouldn't have figured out a lot of these first lines myself, and they're off MY shelves. Still, I would have done a lot better than I did with the three that preceded mine.

This was fun.

I'm going to give mine at least 24 hours. I'd like to see a couple more identified.

Anonymous said...

#3 is a John Grisham novel. Can't remember --- either Summons or Brethren

Annie, too said...

Ok, this is weird. I saw my name on the first comment and was very confused! (Another Annie here. :)

#1 is Ender's Game.

#3 is John Grisham's The Summons (which I only know because someone on AW, Uncle Jim I think, broke it down as a lesson in beginnings).

#10 is A Canticle for Leibowitz.

Janet said...

Yes to Anonymous (I'm tempted to call him/her Annie, just to keep things really confused) and Annie #2.


poodlerat said...

Is #7 A Wizard of Earthsea? And #8 Black Beauty?

I feel as though I ought to know #6 and #11, nothing comes to mind.

Janet said...

Poodlerat is on a roll! Huzzah here too!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Ender's Game! Doh! Yes... and I read that one fairly recently...

Okay - yay serendipity!

My husband says # 11 is W. O. Mitchell, Who Has Seen the Wind, and that I need to catch up on my Canadian literature...

Janet said...

Danika, your husband is right. On both counts. ;o) Who Has Seen the
Wind is one of my favourites. It's a literary work that hasn't forgotten the value of humour and story-telling.

My favourite works are literary with good story-telling or genre with a lot of depth. The best of both worlds.

Janet said...

#4 and #6 have been guessed on the parallel thread at Absolute Write, but it ain't official till they come over here and post it, so it's still open as far as I'm concerned.

Eva said...

I think #6 is The Constant Gardener by John le Carre. :)

Janet said...

You have it, Eva!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Very cool! Thanks for playing!


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