One Sentence: a story about great sentences and great first sentences
This article on one sentence may veer in an entirely different direction, or not! I don’t always want to be predictable.
Journalists and newspapers often write articles on the first lines or one sentence of novels in holiday periods and the best of them are marvellous. Jane Austen and Tolstoy are always the first cabs off the rank.
Great opening sentences in fiction
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
— Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 1813
Comment: This one sentence isn’t a bad summary of the novel. Underlying it is an indictment of late 18th Century inheritance laws and the inability of women to make their own way in the world, of which Jane Austen was painfully aware. She covers this topic in all her books on 18th century county life and manners.
The Story: David Bader’s Haiku barely does a better job than Jane’s sentence.
It is 1984. I am just shy of 19, Reagan is about to be re-elected in the US, Thatcher is administering the UK, and our new prime minister, Bob Hawke, along with his treasurer, Paul Keating, is planning his own quiet revolution in Australia.
Christos Tsiolkas The Monthly December 2016 — January 2017
1984 was the beginnings of the personal computer revolution. Apple’s 1984 advertisement at the superbowl was impudent but memorable. William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer seemed to show the way the future was going, at least to SciFi buffs. And, those of us interested in technology and societal change seemed to feel that we had a sort of handle on the future, we were excited by accelerating change and the ‘so called’ transition to post-industrialism.