The support and connection that comes from your best mate is a special kind of relationship, one celebrated and explored in a variety of fiction genres. This selection features legendary rugby pairings, bonds formed in the fires of conflict and trust built over years of friendship. These titles have some great pairings, and group dynamics to explore.
Machete and the Ghost is fiction, but these tales are steeped in admiration and complete bafflement as to the exploits of this authentic duo on and off the rugby pitch. At every twist and turn in their careers their friendship saw them through. The unlikely pairing of Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard show that when the chemistry is right two people can just click. This swamp noir twosome is facing some partnership issues in their latest adventure, The elephant of surprise. The bromance book club offers support to Gavin Scott’s ailing relationship, the elegant solution of using fiction as way to solve real life conundrums is one we can all empathise with. Enjoy!
Machete and the Ghost / Griffin, James
“Machete and The Ghost is the book that charts the careers of the two greatest All Blacks who never existed. It chronicles their mythical on-field achievements; tells invented stories about the behind-the-scenes goings on of professional rugby; and also makes up their troubles and triumphs off the field, in their tabloid-worthy private lives. This is the book that takes all the tropes you’ve read in every other rugby biography and twists and turns them for shameless comedic benefit. Machete and The Ghost — totally made up, but by people who know and love the game of rugby enough to make all the bullshit sound entirely plausible.” (Catalogue)
The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, 1) [paperback] / Adams, Lyssa Kay
“Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.” (Catalogue)
The elephant of surprise / Lansdale, Joe R.
“Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair–Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard–a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam vet and Republican–but they’re the closest friend either of them has in the world.
On a chase that blows even the East Texas swampgrass back, Hap and Leonard must save the girl, and vanquish her foes, before the foes get them first. With a new case to solve, and a brand-new challenge to their relationship, will Hap and Leonard’s friendship survive? Will Hap and Leonard survive?” (Catalogue)
Hope never dies : a novel / Shaffer, Andrew
“Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction–and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.” (Catalogue)
The grace of kings / Liu, Ken
“A wily, charismatic bandit, and the vengeance-sworn son of a deposed duke cross paths as they each lead their own rebellion against the Emperor’s brutal regime. Their unlikely friendship will drastically change the balance of power in Dara… but at what price? Emperor Mapidere was the first to unite the island kingdoms of Dara under a single banner. But now the emperor is on his deathbed, his people are exhausted by his vast, conscriptive engineering projects and his counsellors conspire only for their own gain. Even the gods themselves are restless.” (Catalogue)
Bodies of men / Featherstone, Nigel
“Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian corporal at twenty-one, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family – a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers. Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.” (Catalogue)
Chances are… / Russo, Richard
“One beautiful September day, three sixty-seven-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, forty-five years later, as this new long weekend unfolds, the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery.” (Catalogue)
Restless souls / Sheehan, Dan
“After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self. His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they’re laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness. Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own. And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down – and why life got so damn complicated and sad.” (Catalogue)
Breath / Tim Winton.
“When paramedic Bruce Pike is called out to deal with another teenage adventure gone wrong, he knows better than his colleague, better than the kid’s parents, what happened and how. Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him.
A relentlessly gripping and deeply moving novel about the damage you do to yourself when you’re young and think you’re immortal.” (Syndetics summary)