Gabriel Garcia Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Col. Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice
This phenomenal opening line (even translated from its original Spanish) tells us everything and nothing all at the same time. We are given a wealth of detail, but we have no idea when, where, how, why. Aside from the obvious mystery of the reason for the firing squad and the high-tension drama, the main impact of this sentence is that it throws the reader into a whirlwind of time: "years later", "that distant afternoon", etc. And, of course, the reader is also immediately thrust into a world in which ice-- normally a commonplace occurrence-- needs to be "discovered." I, for one, am hooked.