If you can identify half of these famous opening lines of books you’re one of a kind

famous opening lines of books
opening lines of books

Do you know these famous opening lines of famous books? I’m sure you do. But do you remember where they come from? Come all ye faithful! Introducing our simplest, fastest quiz for the literary well-versed.

If you can identify half of these famous opening lines of books you’re one of a kind


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  • Question of

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

    • Christopher Isherwood, ‘Mr. Norris Changes Trains’
    • George Orwell, ‘1984’
  • Question of

    “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

    • Gabriel García Márquez, ‘100 Years of Solitude’
    • Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Dead Man’
  • Question of

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

    • Jane Austen, ‘Pride and Prejudice’
    • Charlotte Brontë, ‘Jane Eyre’
  • Question of

    “Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.”

    • François Rabelais, ‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’
    • Miguel de Cervantes, ‘Don Quixote’
  • Question of

    “It was a pleasure to burn.”

    • H.G. Wells, ‘The Invisible Man’
    • Ray Bradbury, ‘Fahrenheit 451’
  • Question of

    “Call me Ishmael. Some years ago ‒never mind how long precisely‒ having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.”

    • Charles Dickens, ‘Great Expectations’
    • Herman Melville, ‘Moby Dick’
  • Question of

    “One day, I was already old, in the entrance of a public place a man came up to me.”

    • Marguerite Duras, ‘The Lover’
    • Colette, ‘Gigi’
  • Question of

    “We were in class when the head-master came in, followed by a “new fellow,” not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk. Those who had been asleep woke up, and every one rose as if just surprised at his work.”

    • Émile Zola, ‘Nana’
    • Gustave Flaubert, ‘Madame Bovary’
  • Question of

    “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect.”

    • Franz Kafka, ‘The Metamorphosis’
    • Robert Musil, ‘The Man Without Qualities’
  • Question of

    “An unassuming young man was travelling, in midsummer, from his native city of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the Canton of the Grisons, on a three weeks’ visit.”

    • Thomas Mann, ‘The Magic Mountain’
    • Ernst Jünger, ‘The Adventurous Heart’
  • Question of

    “The little town of Verrieres can pass for one of the prettiest in Franche-Comte. Its white houses with their pointed red-tiled roofs stretch along the slope of a hill, whose slightest undulations are marked by groups of vigorous chestnuts.”

    • Honoré de Balzac, ‘Lost Illusions’
    • Stendhal, ‘The Red and the Black’
  • Question of

    “I have just returned from a visit to my landlord ‒the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.”

    • Emily Brontë, ‘Wuthering Heights’
    • Jane Austen, ‘Sense and Sensibility’
  • Question of

    “On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.”

    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘Crime and Punishment’
    • Henry James, ‘The American’
  • Question of

    “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

    • Sebastian Junger, ‘The Perfect Storm’
    • Ernest Hemingway, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’
  • Question of

    “For a long time I would go to bed early. Sometimes, the candle barely out, my eyes closed so quickly that I did not have time to tell myself: “I’m falling asleep.”

    • Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Catriona’
    • Marcel Proust, ‘In Search of Lost Time’

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Ricardo Gondelles

Written by Ricardo Gondelles

Thirty years of experience in journalism and the publishing world is easily said. Yet, I feel so open to learning that I like to imagine what comes for the next 30 years. As a writer, editor and proofreader, my passion for the written word keep me discovering new realms. Bilingual (Spanish-English), I’m a language lover who’s going through French and Italian as well (I don’t know what comes next, Russian?). My goal in life is to have things done as best as I can, and I take pride in it. Contact me.

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