Apa yang membuat kita membeli novel?
Karena review yang menarik? Sinopsi di sampul novel yang bikin penasaran? Karena temen bilang bagus?
Pernah membeli novel karena kalimat pertamanya? Mungkin ngga, karena di toko buku kan semua buku tersampul plastik.
Tapi kemungkinan, kita bisa jatuh cinta pada si buku saat kita membaca kalimat pertamanya…
Dan saya langsung ber-“wow” sepanjang 100 hitungan itu.
Ada yang berasal dari buku yang konon ga boleh beredar di beberapa negara (dan menurut saya kalimat pertamanya lumayan mindblowing):
66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)
Ada yang quotable:
80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law. —William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own (1994)
Novel yang pernah saya baca dan masuk ke daftar ini ternyata cuma satu:
47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
Ada satu kalimat pertama yang sepanjang satu paragraf sampe saya kudu bolak-balik baca.
Dalam 100 kalimat ini, 5 kalimat favorit saya adalah:
35. It was like so, but wasn’t. —Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)
6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)
16. 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. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. —Robert Graves, I, Claudius (1934)
Judul post ini sendiri adalah first line dari JudJoseph Heller di novel Catch-22 (1961).