1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder 
"On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below."
2. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 
"The education bestowed on Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged; and when they died within a few weeks of one another during the annual epidemic of the influenza or Spanish Plague which occured in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living."
3. The Outsider - Albert Camus 
"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know."
4. The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov 
"At the hour of the hot spring sunset two citizens appeared at the Patriach's Ponds."
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez 
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
6. Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin 
"Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time."
7. Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis 
"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."
8. The Object of My Affection - Stephen McCauley 
"Nina and I had been living together in Brooklyn for over a year when she came home one afternoon, announced she was pregnant, tossed her briefcase to the floor and flopped down on the green vinyl sofa."
9. A Home at the End of the World - Michael Cunningham 
"Once our father bought a convertible. Don't ask me. I was five."
10. The Secret History - Donna Tartt 
"The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation."
11. A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton 
"I used to think if you fell from grace it was more likely than not the result of one stupendous error, or else an unfortunate accident. I hadn't learned that it can happen so gradually you don't lose your stomach or hurt yourself in the landing."
12. The Dead Heart - Douglas Kennedy 
"I had never seen so many tattoos."
13. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt 
"He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, an eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine - he could see out, but you couldn't see in."
14. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk 
"Tyler gets me a jo as a waiter,after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die."
15. The House of Sleep - Jonathan Coe 
"It was their final quarrel, that much was clear."
16. Devil's Valley - André P. Brink 
"'I been sitting here, waiting for you,' said the old man, not bothering to look at me."
17. Coast - Matthew Branton 
"It started the day the Indian boys fell out of the sky."
18. Emotionally Weird - Kate Atkinson 
"My mother is a virgin. (Trust me.)"
19. Orchid Fever - Eric Hansen 
"There is something distinctive about the sight and sound of a human body falling from the rain forest canopy."
20. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides 
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."