Six Degrees of Separation – From Wolfe Island to The Satanic Verses

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 others to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the titles on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

Cover images

This month we’re starting with Lucy Treolar’s Wolfe Island which I haven’t read but I gather from the blurb is about a woman whose life lived alone on the eponymous island is disrupted by the arrival of her granddaughter together with two refugees fleeing persecution.

I’m taking a phonetic leap, losing the ‘e’ and landing in Tünde Farrand’s Wolf Country, a dystopian tale set in a world in the grips of rampant consumerism. All too plausible.

Wolf Country’s jacket bears a startling resemblance to Francine Toon’s Pine, a slice of modern Scottish gothic that I’m keen to read.

Toon is an editor turned novelist as was William Maxwell, author of So Long, See You Tomorrow, one of my favourite novels, about a friendship between two boys which turns sour

Picking up the theme of male friendship, which seems much rarer that the female variety in fiction, A. D. Miller’s The Faithful Couple is about two men whose twenty-year friendship is overshadowed by a dubious moral act committed in college.

Staying with authors who eschew their full name in favour of initials leads me to Water Music, my favourite novel by T. C. Boyle. Based on Mungo Park’s compulsive quest to find the source of the Niger, it’s packed with extraordinary characters who never seem to have a dull moment.

On the front of its current jacket, Salman Rushdie exhorts readers of Water Music to ‘gulp it down, it beats getting drunk’ which leads me to Rushdie’s notorious The Satanic Verses, the publication of which had all sorts of repercussions that neither its author nor publisher could ever have imagined.

This month’s Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from a woman living alone on remote island to a hugely controversial novel which led to its author living in an undisclosed location surrounded by armed guards. 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.

28 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – From Wolfe Island to The Satanic Verses

  1. Annabel (AnnaBookBel)

    I am loving your top row – even the tree on the Maxwell cover looks like it’s growing out of something else like the wolf and deer. I’ve just got A.D. Miller’s new one – looking forward to that.

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Rebecca. I hope you’ll give Water Music a try. I loved it and it’s very different from his later novels which I didn’t get on with so well. Thanks for the link. Three I haven’t read, including A Little Life.

      Reply
  2. Liz

    What a great chain, Susan, as always. The similarities between Pine and Wolf Country are amazing. I love the sound of the Boyle and the Maxwell – will add them to my TBR for when I start reading again

    Reply
  3. WordsAndPeace

    wow, I like your first connections. Actually I see some resemblance also between the covers of book 3 and 4, don’t you think?
    And maybe that would be a cool idea to connect books, I’m going to think about it for next month, thanks!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      You’re the second blogger to have pointed that out and I have to confess that I hadn’t made the connection until then! I think a visual Six Degrees would be great.

      Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      You’re welcome! I haven’t read that one. So many chains have featured several novels set on islands. They’re clearly very popular with writers.

      Reply
  4. buriedinprint

    Oh, yes, those two covers are hauntingly complementary. Nicely done!
    Funny, I thought that William Maxwell book was about a romance rather than a boys’ friendship. I’m looking forward to reading that one and just found a nice second-hand copy last year.

    Reply

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