Fiction where couples have their own distinctive way of talking
September 25, 2022 7:37 AM   Subscribe

In real life couples tend to share in jokes, slang, neologisms, tones of voice etc that they use privately and not with other people. I'm looking for examples of this kind of couple talk in novels and short stories.

I don't need examples from films, tv or plays (for various reasons I think it's easier to incoporate in performance than in print) - I want to see how writers of novels specifically have handled it. Any genre of novel or short story is fine, from any period or place.
posted by Ballad of Peckham Rye to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by DarlingBri at 8:10 AM on September 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

In the story "The Trusted Traveler" by Joseph O'Neill, a couple has a running joke. It's not a huge part of the story, but it does recur.

It appeared in Harper's and is in his collection, Good Trouble. To read it in Harper's you have subscribe, alas.
posted by swheatie at 8:18 AM on September 25, 2022

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King.
posted by Fuego at 8:40 AM on September 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
posted by Morpeth at 10:33 AM on September 25, 2022

An obscure example but in The Old Bachelor, one of Congreve's perfect restoration comedies, the characters Fondlewife and Laetitia are married and have a cringe-inducing exchange where they call each other Cocky and Nykin. It's a little ways down in this part of the text.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2022

Heinlein was big on this with twins. Juvenile "The Rolling Stones" (personal favorite of the juveniles). And the twins Laz and Lor in Time Enough for Love, who appear in his latter works.
posted by Goofyy at 1:05 PM on September 25, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far - just a reminder, I can't use tv, film or plays. Any other novels or short stories are very welcome.
posted by Ballad of Peckham Rye at 2:16 PM on September 25, 2022

The Emily Henry book Book Lovers has a pair (no spoilers!) who have this sort of language between them.
posted by jessamyn at 2:20 PM on September 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Maybe Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 5:48 PM on September 25, 2022

Eight White Nights by Andre Aciman
posted by kapers at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2022

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