So last month, I did a post listing some favored opening lines from books, but upon inspection, that list was rather weighted in favor of the classics. Thus, Part 2 is completely modern:
It wasn’t given to Langston Braverman to know the moment she became a different person; she only knew later, looking back on the afternoon a simple storm arrived and stayed for days, the afternoon she first saw the children. The woman Langston had been was immune to visions and visitations; she was a head-dweller, an Attic Girl who could quote theologians on the abandonment of reason, but who, nonetheless, trusted reason the way one trusts one’s own skin. Not that the scene wasn’t rational: the accoutrements, the props, the slip of light that first brought the children into focus, were grounded in actuality. There were shadows on Chimney Street, to be sure. A canopy of maples stippled the pavement in front of her house. And further down the block, in front of the mobile home where the children had come to live with their grandmother, the sky was tinged with green, the light anyone from the Midwest recognizes as foreshadowing; it was into this sort of day they walked, at first not visible to Langston, and then undeniable.
-The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
I must say I didn’t put much stock in the possibility that a Dominican spiritualist working out of a basement in Union City, New Jersey, would have much to say about a human skin lampshade reputedly made in a Nazi concentration camp. But there I was sitting across from Dona Argentina, a large woman wearing a ceremonial headdress and smoking a pair of cigars, one on either side of her mouth.
-The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans by Mark Jacobson
Of the things we fashioned for them that they might be comforted, dawn is the one that works. When darkness sifts from the air like fine soft soot and light spreads slowly out of the east then all but the most wretched of humankind rally.
-The Infinities by John Banville
On 13 October 1991 my grandparents killed themselves. It was a Sunday. Not really the ideal day of the week for suicide. On Sundays family members call each other, friends drop in to go walking their dogs with you. I’d have thought a Monday, for instance, much more suitable.
-An Exclusive Love: A Memoir by Johanna Adorjan
My legal name is Alexander Perchov. But all of my friends dub me Alex, because that is a more flaccid-to-utter version of my legal name. Mother dubs me Alexi-stop-spleening-me!, because I am always spleening her. If you want to know why I am always spleening her, it is because I am always elsewhere with friends, and disseminating so much currency, and performing so many things that can spleen a mother. Father used to dub me Shapka, for the fur hat I would don even in the summer month. He ceased dubbing me that because I ordered him to cease dubbing me that. It sounded boyish to me, and I have always thought of myself as very potent and generative. I have many girls, believe me, and they all have a different name for me.
-Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Miranda Silver is in Dover, in the ground beneath her mother’s house. Her throat is blocked with a slice of apple (to stop her speaking words that may betray her) her ears are filled with earth (to keep her from hearing sounds that will confuse her) her eyes are closed, but her heart thrums hard like hummingbird wings.
-White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi