It is one of the most memorable first sentences of a novel ever written. With three simple words, it draws us into the story, lets us know who the narrator is, and hints at dramatic transformations to come.
This opening line – Call me Ishmael – was written by Herman Melville in his epic about Captain Ahab’s quest to kill the white whale Moby Dick. One of the surprises of the San Francisco Opera’s current production of Moby Dick is that this line is used in a different way in the story – to very good effect. I won’t spoil the pleasure in telling you how, but would urge you to see this wonderful production yourself.