54 great opening lines: 26

The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.

The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells

*****

Yesterday I posted the opening line of Invisible Man (sans article) by Ralph Ellison, published in 1952, a book I confused with The Invisible Man (avec article) from 1897 which I listened to on a long car trip recently.  I found the latter interesting in the first half, but more and more disturbing as the protagonist attempted to violently and invisibly dominate his world.

Wells’s writing is awesome;  look at the words he chose to help us imagine guns and glass:

A resounding smash of glass came from upstairs. Adye had a silvery glimpse of a little revolver half out of Kemp’s pocket. “It’s a window, upstairs!” said Kemp, and led the way up. There came a second smash while they were still on the staircase. When they reached the study they found two of the three windows smashed, half the room littered with splintered glass, and one big flint lying on the writing table. The two men stopped in the doorway, contemplating the wreckage. Kemp swore again, and as he did so the third window went with a snap like a pistol, hung starred for a moment, and collapsed in jagged, shivering triangles into the room.

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