Six Degrees of Separation – from The Outsiders to Wise Children #6Degrees

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

This month we’re starting with S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders which I’ve not read but I know this story of teenage rebellion is considered to be a classic of young adult fiction.

Albert Camus’ The Outsider is also thought of as a classic. It’s about Meursault who refuses to conform to society’s expectations showing no emotion when his mother dies or remorse at an act of violence he commits.

The Outsider is also translated as The Stranger which takes me to Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger set in a crumbling, haunted mansion lived in by the same family for two centuries. Not my favourite Waters. I much prefer Fingersmith for its brilliant twist.

Which leads me to Steven Galloway’s The Confabulist about a man fascinated by magic and illusion who is convinced he’s responsible for Houdini’s death. It’s such a clever book, a magnificent illusion in itself, whose final twist is kept under wraps until the very end.

Steven Galloway also wrote The Cellist of Sarajevo leading me to Patrick Gale’s Take Nothing with You which I’ve yet to read but I know it’s about a young boy who finds a passion for the cello when his mother signs him up for lessons with a glamorous teacher.

Patrick Gale’s father was governor of HM Prison Camp Hill on the Isle of Wight. Patrick McGrath grew up close to another secure institution: Broadmoor Hospital where his father was the medical superintendent. His novels often explores madness, of which The Wardrobe Mistress set against the backdrop of the London theatre, is one of my favourites.

Angela Carter’s Wise Children shares a theatrical backdrop with The Wardrobe Mistress. It’s a tale of unacknowledged paternity, mistaken identities, twins at every turn, Shakespeare, Hollywood, music hall, discarded wives, glorious love and rollicking good times. A wonderful novel packed with Shakespearean references, a plot worthy of one of the Comedies and written in language which is earthy, vivid and memorable

This month’s Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from a teen classic to a tale of theatrical dynasty. Part of the fun of this meme is comparing the very different routes other bloggers take from each month’s starting point. If you’re interested, you can follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #6Degrees, check out the links over at Kate’s blog or perhaps even join in.

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – from The Outsiders to Wise Children #6Degrees”

  1. I had not seen that cover for The Outsiders – I love it.

    I haven’t read any of the books in your chain but thinking that Wise Children sounds right up my alley (and another brilliant cover!).

  2. I really like the alternative Camus title as a link to The Little Stranger – bravo! I have the Wardrobe Mistress on my TBR and was interested to read your review – it sounds great.

    1. Delighted to hear that! You’re in for a treat, although it’s very different from The Bloody Chamber stories. It features two of the best old women in modern fiction I’ve come across.

    1. Thank you. Wise Children is wonderful, isn’t it it. The Chance sisters are so memorable: once met never forgotten. I’m sure you’ll enjoy The Wardrobe Mistress – a good winter read.

  3. Loved the links, especially Camus to Waters – now those are authors I would never expect to see mentioned in the same breath but it just shows how the 6degrees meme takes our minds in totally new directions. My mind has gone completely blank for this month’s chain unfortunately

  4. It’s good to see someone else using Camus as the first link – it just seemed so obvious to me! What an interesting link between Patrick Gale and Patrick McGrath – I haven’t read any of the latter’s books, but will look out for them now.

    1. I was amused when I saw your post, Margaret. I think we’re the only ones, at least so far. Some of McGrath’s books are quite gothic but if you’re interested, The Wardrobe Mistress is a good place to start.

  5. So many interesting sounding books that I have not yet read. I particularly like the sound of The Cellist of Sarajevo and Take Nothing with You. Thanks for a great chain (and more books to add to my to-read pile).

  6. Great links, Susan! I especially liked your connection between The Outsider and The Little Stranger. The Wardrobe Mistress sounds like one I should check out soon too.

    1. Thanks, Jessie. The Little Stranger’s doing the rounds at cinemas here which is why it popped into my head, I suspect. The Wardrobe Mistress is such a good read. Perfect fro winter too.

  7. Yes! I love the connections you made here. The Little Stranger! Steven Galloway! I really enjoy these posts.

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