Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Friends in Fiction

Guardian reviewer Sarah Salway wrote a piece on friendships in fiction. She included Pooh and Eeyore and the rest of the 100 Acre Wood gang; Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson; and Lenny and George from John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.
Salway makes some rules for choosing literary friendships, "no love interest (which cut out the Empress of Blandings and Lord Emsworth), no traditional master-servant relationships (step down Rebecca and Mrs Danvers), and nothing I haven't read but people keep telling me to put in (Don Quixote. Oh, the shame)."
Which got me to thinking, what friendships would I choose given those rules? She ruled out my favorites Jeeves and Wooster and other P.G. Wodehouse characters. I would include Mma Ramotswe, founder and principle of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith and Mma Makutsi, her partner whose distinction is having achieved 97% at the Botswana Secretarial College. They are friends who recognize each others faults but remain loyal to each other in good times and bad. Most detectives have best friends: Holmes and Watson for example, but the friendship seemed a little unbalanced. Was Holmes even capable of having a friend? M. C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth takes his dog Lugs with him everywhere, but that might get into the people and their pets category. But Hamish also trusts and confides in the doctor's wife whose name escapes me. Anyway, more on this later perhaps.

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