Thursday, July 08, 2021

Top ten platonic friendships in fiction

Nikita Lalwani is a contemporary British novelist whose work has been translated into sixteen languages. Her first novel, Gifted—the story of a child prodigy of Indian origin growing up in Wales—was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and won the inaugural Desmond Elliott Prize for Fiction. Her second, The Village, was modeled on a real-life “prison village” in northern India, and won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Lalwani wrote the opening essay for AIDS Sutra, an anthology exploring the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in India and is a trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust, a human rights organization.

Her new novel is You People.

At the Guardian Lalwani tagged ten books in which there is "'intense feeling' in fictional friendships where there is no carnal activity," including:
The World According to Garp by John Irving

Pro footballer Robert becomes Roberta with a sex reassignment operation after reading A Sexual Suspect, the cult feminist text written by Garp’s mother Jenny. She’s an earlyish trans character, and easily the most appealing character in the novel, someone who suffers “the vanity of a middle-aged man and the anxieties of a middle-aged woman … a perspective that is not without its advantages”. Roberta and Garp play squash regularly and a solid friendship ensues. In a book that has a lot to say about the vicissitudes of lust, their platonic intimacy is a delight.
Read about another entry on the list.

The World According to Garp is among Brendan Mathews's ten epic page-turning novels, four books that changed Charlie Lovett, Kathy Reichs's six best books, ten books that changed Sean Beaudoin's life before he could drive, and John Niven's ten best writers in novels.

--Marshal Zeringue