The Unforgettable Couple

Being conscientious about spreading my online presence far and wide, I naturally have a Goodreads author page. Not a lot happens there but the other day I received my first question. I wondered who was so kind as to want to know my opinion on anything, but when I looked, I was informed the question came from… Goodreads. Perhaps they have an algorithm that spots lonely authors and tosses them a question every now and then. I thought it was very decent of them, anyway, so actually took the trouble to reply.

The question was, ‘Who is your favourite couple in fiction and why?’ It took me quite a long time to come up with an answer because all the couples I could think of came from my childhood and weren’t really couples in the conventional sense.

The closest I got to an actual ‘couple’ couple was:


Hmm… Not very literary, I thought. So after racking my brains a bit, I came up with Oscar and Lucinda, from Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. That’s extremely literary. And they are actually a lovable, eccentric, tender, tragic, unforgettable couple. Oops – did I say unforgettable? The thing is, when it came to explaining my choice, I could hardly remember a thing about them. And I thought of Carl’s apothegm of wince n° 85: “I never remember what I read. So why read? Waste of time.”

Of course, it isn’t a waste of time because (a) the book was fabulous when I read it and (b) now I can read and enjoy it all over again. But it does say something about memory and getting old. Still, I won’t go into that here.

What about you? Any favourite couple in fiction?


17 thoughts on “The Unforgettable Couple

  1. I have so many favourite couples in fiction, most notable among them are Teddy and Emily from Emily of New Moon – they were best friends before they were lovers, and their love was so deep rooted that it almost became spiritual. I aspired to that as a young girl. I love the images you used to encapsulate the couples from the fiction of your childhood – who can forget Tom and Jerry!? Maybe even though you can’t remember a thing about Oscar and Lucinda, they are still your favourite couple because they had a big literary impact – they were so memorable that you still remembered them, long after you’d forgotten why! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. atthysgage says:

    Easy. Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man. They were charming, loving, and fun to be around. I wanted to hang out with them, though mostly they wanted to be by themselves (with their dog) and a pitcher of martinis. Kudos also to William Powell and Myrna Loy for playing them in the movies.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    Damn, Atthys. You’re right. I love Nick and Nora. Well, here’s what I just wrote:

    I’m having trouble with this one. Can you believe it? Such a simple question. I have no fabulous, quirky couple to cite from, say, speculative fiction, that would really be fun. My heart sends me in the direction of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, sorry about that.

    But, not any Elizabeth and not any Darcy. The Darcy as brought to life by Colin Firth, and the Elizabeth of the same production. No other duo will do for me. Firth’s Darcy, I read only recently, is not at all faithful to the style of the time. The real Darcy would have been less robust, more of a dandy, a bit prissy, certainly less appealing to the modern eye.

    The cat-and-mouse game, a convention of romantic fiction, is riveting mostly due to Austen’s sly dialogue. I love that line, in reference to Charlotte and her Mr Collins, “she knows she is marrying the stupidest man in England.” That BBC version of the story (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all) convinces me to go with Jane Austen’s adversarial semi-sweethearts.

    I could possibly come up with a more original pair of lovebirds, but for now I go with Lizzie and Darcy. There have to be many better choices. I need to go downstairs and scan my fiction, and maybe jog my memory. Staring me in the face here in my bedroom are only history and reference.

    That I adore that couple is all Jane Austen’s doing. The story told thorough other eyes, with less wit, might easily bore me to tears. Here, the delight is in the details.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. GD Deckard says:

    This is a harder question than I expected. First couple to pop to mind were Arthur Dent & Ford Prefect. But then, y’gotta include Marvin, the depressed robot, to truly enjoy Arthur and Ford. So I tried to focus only on man-wife couples and came up with Henry Miller and his wife, Mona. But the complexity of their relationship is inexplicable without including her lover, Stasia. An old favorite is Arthur and Guinevere, really understood only if you include Lancelot. Maybe the third party is a required literary device to make any couple truly interesting?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Curtis: re: “Perhaps they have an algorithm that spots lonely authors and tosses them a question every now and then.” LOL!

    Now, as to that question—whoo boy! I failed completely. I could not think of a single fictional couple as regards a bog standard male/female pairing. Perhaps this reflects an impoverished literary imagination and/or insufficient reading on my part. Or maybe my brain is simply A.B. Normal. (Those were not actual questions, GD; you can lower your frantically waving hand at the back of the room. . . .)

    The first three couples that came to mind—and in this order—were all “bromance” pairings:

    1. Kirk/Spock
    2. Batman/Robin
    3. Holmes/Watson


    4. Green Hornet/Kato
    5. Lois Lane/Superman
    6. Hemingway/Martha Gellhorn
    7. F. Scott Fitzgerald/Zelda
    8. Mary Tyler Moore/Dick Van Dyke
    9. Ralph Cramden/Alice
    10. Fred Flintsone/Wilma

    Yes, yes; I know—no.s 6 & 7 were real, not fictional couples; #10 is the cartoon version of the sitcom characters referenced in #9; #8 are the real-life names of beloved actors famous for their chemistry together on 60s television.

    What can I say? This is what my laboring brain produced in answer to that absurd interrogative. (“Favorite”?! Does anyone past the age of eight have a favorite anything?)

    Also: Did you notice how no.s 5 and 8 have the female listed first? That’s how I thought of them, and I realized almost immediately that this wasn’t an accident—my brain categorizes Mary Tyler Moore as somehow greater than Dick Van Dyke, whereas Lois Lane/Superman . . . hmm . . . was this peculiarly-ordered thought-pairing an act of unconscious patronizing sexism or Homo sapiens chauvinism on my part, or merely a valiant attempt to foreground Lois’s humanity against the bullet-proof alien physiology of a demi-god who can hurl all of his problems into the frickin’ sun if he so desires? ‘Tis a question only a novelist like David Foster Wallace or Huffington Post columnist Andrew O’Hehir could honestly answer after hours of excoriating rumination and self-reflection.

    Liked by 4 people

    • atthysgage says:

      A few dozen different possibilities, depending on mood, whim, time of day, who I’m talking to, how much I’ve drunk, the weather, or any number of other possibilities.

      Liked by 4 people

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