你是否听说过那句著名的“那是最好的时代,那是最坏的时代”(It was the best of times, it was the worst of times)?也许你听过,但你可能并不知道,这只是狄更斯著作《双城记》开头那个超级大长句的开头部分而已。

也有很多书的开头简洁到一个短句的,比如《第二十二条军规》的“那真是一见钟情。”(It was love at first sight.)还有,《末世男女》里的“雪人在黎明前醒来。”(Snowman wakes before dawn.)事实上,罕有开头长到《双城记》那个程度的经典小说。然而它的长自有独特的一面,不信你读一读,是不是有种史诗的效果和气概呢?


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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.


——肯·克西(Ken Kesey) 《飞越疯人院》(One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,1962)

Fahrenheit 451

It was a pleasure to burn.


——雷·布莱伯利(Ray Bradbury) 《华氏451度》(Fahrenheit 451,1953)

The Princess Bride

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.


——威廉姆·高德曼(William Goldman) 《公主新娘》(The Princess Bride,1973)


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


——乔治·奥威尔(George Orwell) 《1984》(1949)

The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.


——J.R.R.托尔金(J.R.R. Tolkien) 《霍比特人》(The Hobbit,1937)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.


——马克·吐温(Mark Twain) 《哈克贝利·费恩历险记》(Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,1884)

Breakfast of Champions

This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.

——小库特·冯内古特(Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) 《冠军的早餐》(Breakfast of Champions,1973)


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.


——简·奥斯汀(Jane Austin) 《傲慢与偏见》(Pride and Prejudice,1813)

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.


——查尔斯·狄更斯(Charles Dickens) 《双城记》(A Tale of Two Cities,1859)

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 as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.


——赫伯特·乔治·威尔斯(H. G. Wells ) 《隐形人》(The Invisible Man,1897)

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.


——杰罗姆·大卫·塞林格( J. D. Salinger) 《麦田里的守望者》(The Catcher in the Rye,1951)

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.


——道格拉斯·亚当斯(Douglas Adams) 《银河系漫游指南》(The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,1979)

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.


—— 亨特·S. 汤普森(Hunter S. Thompson) 《赌城风情画/惧恨拉斯维加斯 : 一场直捣美国梦的凶蛮之旅》(Fear a
nd Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream,1971)

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.


——哈珀·李(Harper Lee) 《杀死一只知更鸟》 (To Kill a Mockingbird,1960)

It was love at first sight.


——约瑟夫·海勒(Joseph Heller) 《第二十二条军规》(Catch-22,1961)

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.


——列夫·托尔斯泰(Leo Tolstoy) 《安娜·卡列尼娜》(Anna Karenina,1877)

The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended. Here on the Equator, in the continent which would one day be known as Africa, the battle for existence had reached a new climax of ferocity, and the victor was not yet in sight. In this barren and desiccated land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even hope to survive.


——亚瑟·查尔斯·克拉克((Arthur C. Clarke) 《2001太空漫游》(2001: A Space Odyssey,1968)

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


——佐拉·尼尔·赫斯顿(Zora Neale Hurston) 《凝望上帝》(Their Eyes Were Watching God,1937)

When the blind man arrived in the city, he claimed that he had traveled across a desert of living sand.


——凯文•布罗克迈耶(Kevin Brockmeier) 《死者简史》(The Brief History of the Dead,2006)

In the town they tell the story of the great pearl- how it was found and how it was lost again.


——约翰·斯坦贝克(John Steinbeck) 《珍珠》(The Pearl,1947)

Snowman wakes before dawn.


——玛格丽特·阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood) 《末世男女/羚羊和秧鸡》(Oryx and Crake,2003)

"Where's Papa going with the ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.


——E.B.怀特(E. B. White) 《夏洛的网》(Charlotte's Web,1952)

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.


——苏珊·柯林斯(Suzanne Collins) 《饥饿游戏》(The Hunger Games,2008)

The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.


——道格拉斯·亚当斯(Douglas Adams) 《宇宙尽头的餐厅》(The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,1980)

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.


——S·E·辛顿(S.E.Hinton) 《局外人》(The Outsiders,1967)

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.


——J.K.罗琳(J. K. Rowling) 《哈利波特与魔法石》(Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,1997)

In the corner of a first-class smoking carriage, Mr. Justice Wargrave, lately retired from the bench, puffed a cigar and ran an interested eye through the political news in the Times.


——阿加莎·克里斯蒂(Agatha Christie) 《无人生还》(And Then There Were None,1939)

ONCE there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.


——C·S·路易斯(C. S. Lewis) 《狮子、女巫与魔衣橱》(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe,1950)

James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.


——伊恩·弗莱明(Ian Fleming) 《金手指》(Goldfinger,1959)

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.


—— 戴安娜•韦恩•琼斯(Diana Wynne Jones) 《哈尔的移动城堡》(Howl's Moving Castle,1986)

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had looked into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of the book,” thought Alice, “without pictures and conversations?”


——刘易斯·卡罗尔(Lewis Carroll) 《爱丽丝梦游仙境》(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,1865)

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.”


——弗·司各特·菲茨杰拉德( F. Scott Fitzgerald) 《了不起的盖茨比》(The Great Gatsby,1925)

The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.


——儒勒·凡尔纳(Verne, Jules) 《海底两万里》(Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,1870)

All children, except one, grow up.


——J. M. 巴里(J. M. Barrie) 《彼得潘与温蒂》(Peter and Wendy,1911)