Famous First Lines in Novels Quiz
by Staff
Calling all bookworms: How well do you know literature? We'll give you the first line of a novel, and you have to choose the book it comes from. Put your skills to the test, and take this quiz on memorable literary sentences.

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

  • "The Way We Live Now"
  • "The Black Sheep"
  • "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

"The past is a foreign country: They do things differently there."

  • "The Go-Between"
  • "The Good Soldier"
  • "The Woman in White"

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

  • "Anna Karenina"
  • "Clarissa"
  • "The Pilgrim's Progress"

"Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk."

  • "The BFG"
  • "Elmer Gantry"
  • "A Bend in the River"

"It was the day my grandmother exploded."

  • "The Crow Road"
  • "Wise Children"
  • "Austerlitz"

"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day."

  • "Oscar and Lucinda"
  • "Northern Lights"
  • "Jane Eyre"

"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."

  • "Tom Jones"
  • "Murphy"
  • "Invisible Man"

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”

  • "Metamorphosis"
  • "Three Men in a Boat"
  • "The Riddle of the Sands"

"Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

  • "Things Fall Apart"
  • "The Portrait of a Lady"
  • "Lolita"

"A screaming comes across the sky."

  • "The Catcher in the Rye"
  • "Miss Lonelyhearts"
  • "Gravity's Rainbow"

"This is the saddest story I have ever heard."

  • "Darkness at Noon"
  • "The Good Soldier"
  • "The Great Gatsby"

"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress."

  • "Lucky Jim"
  • "The Plague"
  • "Middlemarch"

"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed."

  • "To the Lighthouse"
  • "Ulysses"
  • "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"

"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving."

  • "The Razor's Edge"
  • "Crash"
  • "The Broom of the System"

"It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him."

  • "Scoop"
  • "The Trial"
  • "Catch-22"

"Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women."

  • "Changing Places"
  • "Middle Passage"
  • "Orlando"

"Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure."

  • "Waiting for the Barbarians"
  • "Housekeeping"
  • "The Stranger"

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

  • "Jude the Obscure"
  • "The Portrait of a Lady"
  • "The Bell Jar"

"I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking."

  • "Goodbye to Berlin"
  • "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
  • "The Executioner's Song"

"All children, except one, grow up."

  • "Peter Pan"
  • "Charlotte's Web"
  • "Trump: The Art of the Deal"

"It was inevitable: The scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."

  • "Love in the Time of Cholera"
  • "Song of Solomon"
  • "Herzog"

"They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did."

  • "Wide Sargasso Sea"
  • "In Search of Lost Time"
  • "The Rainbow"

"You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy.”

  • "Wise Blood"
  • "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"
  • "The Color Purple"

“The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting."

  • "The Red Badge of Courage"
  • "All Quiet on the Western Front"
  • "Birdsong"

"They shoot the white girl first."

  • "The Stranger"
  • "Slaughterhouse-Five"
  • "Paradise"

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

  • "I Capture the Castle"
  • "The Old Man and the Sea"
  • "Babbitt"

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."

  • "Beloved"
  • "The Unnamable"
  • "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

“They’re out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them.”

  • "A Clockwork Orange"
  • "The Shining"
  • "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

  • "David Copperfield"
  • "Moby Dick"
  • "The Crying of Lot 49"

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of a fleshy balloon of a head."

  • "An Artist of the Floating World"
  • "A Confederacy of Dunces"
  • "Money"