I have a new favourite sentence. It’s the opening line from The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge:
The boat moved with a nauseous, relentless rhythm, like someone chewing on a rotten tooth.
What a great first sentence for a novel. The sound of the boat’s movement through the water is visceral.
That sentence joins two others in my small and entirely subjective pantheon of favourites. The others that have leapt out at me are this line from David Mitchell’s novel Black Swan Green:
The cow of an awkward pause mooed.
And this, from a fight scene in Tibor Fischer’s novel The Thought Gang:
Suddenly, I smelt broken nose.
There are many wonderful sentences in the world. There are many wonderful phrases. I didn’t set out to have a list of favourites; these are just some that I have particularly enjoyed and remembered over time. I think it’s the way these sentences surprise and delight me. They use sound and smell as well as visual images. They’re sentences that I want to keep. They represent to me the pure pleasure of reading and writing. They make me want to write more.