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Peter Seth: "Many Years Later": Great First Lines

The Parks Department in my nice little town in southern California trucks in snow from the nearby San Gabriel Mountains to Memorial Park on Foothill Boulevard for our kids to play in. They dump two large mounds of snow—one for big kids, one for the little ones—onto the grass so that California children, growing up in this warm-blooded paradise of ours, can know what snow is like. So on a beautiful, sunny, mid-70s Saturday afternoon, I took Calder to play in the snow…and discover ice. Which got me thinking about one of my favorite first lines in all of literature: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father

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