Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Best Opening Lines Of All Time...

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and the scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants, and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men," and he would have meant the same thing.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968)


  1. Though it's a pop fave, methinks the opening para/page of Captain Corelli's Mandolin is pretty terrific. Can't find it amongst the rubble just now but sucks you in immediately - guy not actually deaf, just has a pea in his ear all this time? Gold.

  2. Ah...I'll be sure to check this book out - thank you for the reco!
    I visited your blog 'Alexander Will Walk' and was moved by your story. I have a friend in India with a special needs child who is working on programmes set by the Philadelhia institute you mention. I found her journey echoed in your blog.
    Thank you for dropping by here :)