Thursday, 15 April 2010

Literary Relationships

Having (vaguely) fixed my dreadful and erratic sleeping pattern (I fell asleep last night before 5 AM for the first time in two weeks), I was up and about during the day and spent three hours in the afternoon packing boxes as part of a part-time job. Feel a little bit achy now.

So it was only about half an hour ago that I finally managed to get onto the laptop and do my usual Internetting. While running through my usual list of agency, publishing and other random blogs and websites, I came across this post by agent Jessica Faust on the BookEnds blog. I thought it was an incredible post, especially how touched she is by a dedication in a client's book. It made me think about relationships in the literary world, real-life and fictional, and about how wonderful and memorable these can be. Obviously, there are the great agent-author relationships (and oh, how I long for one of these...) and there are author-editor relationships and author-character relationships. The latter are probably the most fraught and complicated.

But there are also character-character relationships, and in the spirit of that theme, I'd like to point many fingers at the compelling, funny, touching and all-round amazing friendship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. 

Right, seriously. Watson's devotion, loyalty and nagging must be celebrated. The man is not only patient, he's astonishing. Of course, while reading the stories, his exasperation, confusion and devotion regardless is obvious and funny. This relationship is the building block upon which other great fictional relationships have been based - notably the relationship between House and Wilson in House. I love House, not least for that relationship.

I think one of my favourite moments in the entire series (Holmes, that is, not House) is from 'The Three Garridebs'. Watson is shot in the course of catching a criminal, and Holmes's reaction, viewed through Watson's eyes, really reminds the reader that the good doctor's devoted friendship is not by any means one-sided: It was worth a wound, Watson/Conan Doyle writes, to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. A furious Holmes then informs the criminal that if he had killed Watson, Holmes would have killed him. Aw.

*feels a surge of nostalgia coming on, and glances at the massive Sherlock Holmes volume on the shelf* Erm, yes. So, where was I?

I really can't recommend the stories highly enough. But, for now, this post is my small tribute to one of my favourite fictional literary relationships of all time.

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