Great First Sentences

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Book: Suttree


Dear friend now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of the watertrucks and now when the drunk and the homeless have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys or abandoned lots and cats go forth highshouldered and lean in the grim perimeters about, now in these sootblacked brick or cobbled corridors where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no soul shall walk save you.

Why: This long first sentence is filled with lyrical prose, word-smithery (sootblacked, clockless), great imagery and ends with such a strong phrase; no soul shall walk save you. It would be very difficult to write a much better opening line than this.

The Road was his only spec-fic book, but I would love to see what McCarthy could do with a secondary world.  I imagine something like Perdido St. Station, only possibly even darker and more existential.


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