Cathy Marie Buchanan’s most recent novel is The Painted Girls.
For Valentine’s Day, I propose the pairing of two wonderfully righteous men: Atticus Finch from my favourite novel, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, who I suspect was 221B-curious. Yes, some would have labelled their romance A Scandal in Alabama, but to me, it’s To Kiss a Baker Streeter. Both men, of course, were towering intellects; both laboured for the cause of justice, and both often came to the aid of those who had no one else to help them. Though neither was demonstrative – the only endearment Atticus might ever have heard would have been the occasional “Elementary, my dear Finch” – each was passionate in his own way, and they’d have made a truly handsome couple.
Robert J. Sawyer’s science-fiction/mystery Red Planet Blues comes out in April.
King Lear and Père Goriot would make a nice pair. Horrible daughters in each case. Worked themselves into the ground, and for what? Bet those two would have some great stories to share. They always say there’s no fool like an old fool. Well, how about two old fools. And remember: Lear opted for voluntary early retirement. Bad, bad, bad idea.
Joe Queenan’s most recent book is One for the Books.
George Elliott Clarke
In Shakespeare’s eponymous tragedy, Othello, the “Moor of Venice” and governor of Cyprus, is tricked into believing his white wife, Desdemona, had been unfaithful, suffocates her and then, realizing his error, commits suicide. How much sweeter life would have been had Othello been paired with O, the heroine of Dominique Aury’s novel, Histoire d’O, which relates the adult fairy tale of a woman who so loves her man that she submits to his decision to allow others to violate her, willy-nilly. Othello would have found O so obedient that she’d cuckold him only if he commanded it.
George Elliott Clarke is the poet laureate of Toronto. His most recent book is Red.
The literary matchup I want to see most is Stephen Maturin – the cranky, brilliant physician and naturalist and spy from the Patrick O’Brian novels – and me. I know it could never work, as I’m not a fictional character, so I’ve tried to come up with someone else for him. Isabel Archer would be game and adventurous enough, but after the conniving Gilbert Osmond she might want someone open and cheerful – Jack Aubrey from the O’Brian novels, not his pinched and secretive friend.
Dr. Maturin would admire Anna Karenina’s spirit, but he isn’t handsome or dashing enough to keep her from her train. Lizzy Bennet lives conveniently at the right time, but she would never give up Mr. Darcy’s magnificent Pemberley for Stephen’s ruined castle in Spain. Who else would put up with midnight autopsies on the dining room table, and crates of preserved specimens, and the occasional pet sloth, and would love and treasure him anyway? Who but me?
Maile Meloy’s most recent novel for adults is Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.