“My husband brought a date to our divorce.” — Swimming for Sunlight Allie Larkin
In reviewing Swimming for Sunlight , I mentioned that the first line led me to read this novel, and there you have that line. Now I’m not putting this opener up as a candidate for the best of lines, but it is darn good and does its job so well. What I want to praise here is brevity. It is short, short, short. We do not need to know that her eyes are swimming with hot, bitter tears and that they are the blue of a sapphire sea. We do not need to know that her husband wore alligator boots, stood tall on long, lean legs and that his dark chest hair curled from the open collar of his chambray shirt as her world crumbled around her. No, we do not. Only eight words to get the job done. We know that this lady is starting over; we know that her husband is a dirty rat bastard; we know this book is not going to take itself too seriously. Eight short words.
Hey, just “Call me Ishmael.”