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Surreal opening lines from literature

A good opening line can make or break a novel. Get it right and you'll be quoted forever, get it wrong and you'll be mocked and possibly even commemorated with a world-famous competition for bad openers (we're looking at you, Edward Bulwer-Lytton).

Beyond the standard collection of beloved opening lines lie a group of openers that refuse to conform to the rules. These first lines leap right off the page with random splashes of narrative, dialogue and eccentric verbs. From classic novels by Dodie Smith and James Joyce to science fiction reads and contemporary best-sellers, here are some of the most surreal opening lines known to literature...

Rate your favourite opener out of five. Know one we've left off the list? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter



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