Odd Couples

10 literary pairings that shouldn't have worked, but did

Relationships are funny things. Sometimes, you see people who are partnered up or close friends and think, 'yes, of course those two are together--they're perfect for each other!' And then, sometimes, you find yourself perplexed by the pairing, wondering what it is that brought those people together in the first place, and how they make the relationship work. Literature is full of pairings like this: a drug-addicted genius detective with no time for social niceties and his straight-arrow, proper Victorian gentleman best friend; a human being and a fallen star; a conservative, public-school supporting barrister and a slightly ditzy chronic self-improver (or attempted self-improver), to name just a few. It barely makes sense for most of these people to be in each other's lives for any length of time, and yet, somehow, they convince us they belong together, and provide us with some entertaining stories. Here are a few of our favourite literary odd couples (and odd friendships):

Harold and Maude cover

1. Harold and Maude

Colin Higgins
African Queen cover

2. The African Queen

C S Forester

3. A Storm of Swords

George R. R. Martin
A Study in Scarlet cover

4. A Study in Scarlet

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Stardust cover

5. Stardust

Neil Gaiman
Watchman cover

6. Watchman

Ian Rankin
One Day cover

7. One Day

David Nicholls
The City and the City cover

8. The City and the City

China Mieville

List created by

Brianne Moore

Brianne is a website editor with Scottish Book Trust