Many great books begin on a quiet note — think of Tolstoy’s “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” or Ford’s “This is the saddest story I have ever heard,” for example.
But some writers take the opposite tack. I just encountered this extraordinary opening sentence to chapter one of The Perenial Garden by Jeff and Marilyn Cox:
When the dynosaurs shrieked in the primordial night, and the world’s highest law was to eat or be eaten, there were no flowers.
You won’t find a sentence like that in many gardening books (he shrieked).