ANOTHER GREAT BEGINNING FOR A BOOK—THE MANTICORE. As I have argued in previous Christmas seasons (for example, here), A CHRISTMAS CAROL begins with what I think is the best first sentence ever: “Marley was dead: to begin with.”

I think the second best opening sentence—or two sentences—is from THE MANTICORE by Robertson Davies. I was in the Saint Louis airport many years ago, looking for a book to read. I picked up THE MANTICORE, which begins:

“When did you decide to come to Zurich, Mr. Staunton?”
“When I heard myself shouting in the theatre.”

THE MANTICORE is the second volume in THE DEPTFORD TRILOGY. I read the book and then read the first volume, FIFTH BUSINESS, and the third, WORLD OF WONDERS, and then almost all of the other books that Davies wrote.

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