Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Literary Column – Blast Off! -Opening Lines by Jessica Norrie

The Literary Column by Jessica Norrie, explores the importance of first lines of books. Some are memorable and engage with you as soon as you read them. Can you remember your favourite first line of a book? Why not let us know.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blast Off! – Opening Lines by Jessica Norrie.

At choir last week, rehearsing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, there was a massive crescendo and the pianist stopped accompanying to announce: “That’s known as a Rossini Rocket.” It really is, apparently. Respect.

It set me wondering about Rossini Rockets in literature. Huge, telling moments when everything catches fire and the reader can hardly hear herself think. Battle scenes in War and Peace. Anything involving Bill Sykes or Becky Sharpe. The fire in the picture gallery at Soames Forsyte’s house. Fires anywhere – think of Jane Eyre and Miss Havisham. The 19th century may have been better at this. Presumably, something sparks somewhere in Fifty Shades of Grey, although I only got to around page 53 when I found it in my cousin’s guest bedroom. Nothing much was even smouldering by then, so I went to sleep.

Rossini could write a…

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