Thursday, June 7, 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).
Number one on Salway's list:
Burn Marks by Sara Paretsky

The elderly Mr Contreras is detective VI Warshawski's fretting friend and neighbour in all the books of Paretsky's popular crime series. I don't know what would happen to Vic without Mr Contreras to worry about her. Not only do the fictional duo share two dogs, Peppy and Mitch, but Mr Contreras (Sal) is as stubborn as Vic and they have the kind of niggling arguments that only true friends can. She provides the excitement he needs in his life (and then some), and he is the father-substitute she's searching for.
Read about the other nine picks.

Visit Sarah Salway's website.

--Marshal Zeringue