Holiday companion vox pop – August 2011

Which literary character would you most like to go on holiday with?

Roger Horberry: Eeyore would be perfect for the Horberry family’s rain-soaked Lake District ordeal

Jim Davies: Jeeves would be just the ticket. Between wry quips, he could put a perfect crease in my swimming trunks, do all the necessary grappling with sunbeds, and mix consummate dry Martinis at sundown. That will be all my good man.

Martin Lee: For sheer adventure, the ultimate white (whale) knuckle ride must surely be to go on holiday with Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. It would probably be the ultimate holiday in the literal sense of being the last, but hey, what a way to go.

Stuart Delves: Firstly I’d like to retread my years to a time when a pack of No 6 cost 4 shillings. Being the right age would be crucial. Then, go on a holiday, which would more likely turn out to be an adventure into another world, but starting in Oxford. You’ve guessed, with Lyra, plus a confederacy of daemons and that precious alethiometer.

Fiona Thompson: He’s not strictly a literary character. Let’s be honest, he’s a film character. But I’d like to go on holiday with M Hulot, because any holiday would be immeasurably improved by a jaunty character smoking a pipe, xylophone music in the background and a firework display in a beach hut.

Tim Rich: I think I would invite Inspector Salvo Montalbano, the detective at the heart of Andrea Camilleri’s extraordinary series of crime novels. He is ill tempered, brooding and prone to disappear into his thoughts for days on end. Then again, he’s principled, has a dry wit and could tell an almost endless procession of hair-raising stories about life and death in Sicily. We might start with tales of corruption in the morning; spice lunch with some insight into the workings of the modern-day mafia; and follow dinner with attempts to get to the heart of Italian politics. I could also interrogate him until he reveals his views on Italian crime writers. What does he think of Leonardo Sciascia’s Sicily? Does he rate the Bari-based thrillers of anti-mafia judge Gianrico Carofiglio? Could he work with Michael Dibdin’s detective Aurelio Zen? Actually, I doubt I would get much from Salvo on writers or detectives – it’s really food that ignites his passion. I would trust him to sniff out those secret, special restaurants every area has hidden away in its backstreets or high up some treacherous mountain road. In each place my order would be simple – I’ll have what he’s having. The problem is, Salvo doesn’t seem too keen to travel. I suppose I’ll just have to force myself to visit Sicily.

Nick Asbury: “I would probably choose Winnie the Pooh, because it’s hard to imagine having a bad time with him around. A more literary choice would be Godot, purely for the fun of hearing the increasingly irate tannoy announcements when he failed to turn up for the flight.”

John Simmons: That Molly Bloom would be interesting but she’d probably say No

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