Thursday, June 07, 2007

Top 10 books about unlikely friendships

Sarah Salway, a prize-winning short story writer, poet, and novelist, selected a top ten list of books about unlikely friendships for the Guardian.

Her framework:
Everyone knows the value of a 'friend in need' but what about the friendships that take us by surprise, and in doing so, change the way we think?

Fiction's full of these often difficult relationships: some good, some bad, some completely, bloodily, awful. So in order to pick 10, I had to make rules: 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).
One American classic from Salway's list:
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

From the funny to the tragic. Lennie and George's unlikely friendship is centred round their dream of owning a farm, but it all goes terribly wrong. The end, when George is put in the position where he has to shoot Lennie, is totally heart-wrenching. Still worse is how none of the other characters can really understand George's pain at losing the one person who "gives a hoot in hell" about him, and who still trusts him absolutely, even when the gun is at his head.
See which title captured the top spot on Salway's list.

--Marshal Zeringue