Famous first words

The Spectator magazine recently ran a competition asking for the opening paragraph of an imagined sequel to a famous novel.  One amusing entry, by Bill Greenwell, explained itself in just the first sentence:

Call me Moby.  Many moons ago — I have no idea how many — and having nothing better to do than bite off the leg of a raving lunatic, and head-butt a strange wooden contraption that was chasing me, I resolved to mooch across the expanse that I alone inhabit, singing a variety of sonic compositions. You may, doubtless, imagine my surprise when a lascivious invitation reached me from afar, together with jolly explanations of how I might beget another in my own likeness. Ah! that explained the sensation of longing deep within me, and the purpose of my mysterious, extensible truncheon. I accounted it my destiny to manoeuvre my belly that I might raise a modest family, one single offspring — and in so doing, discredit the monstrous accounts of my fellow creatures (for so they are) who sought to rope and pierce me. I would have a man of a time.

Bill Greenwell/Moby-Dick




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