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.
This month we’re starting with Rachel Cusk’s Booker Prize longlisted, Second Place, which I haven’t read, not being a Cusk fan, but I gather it’s about a woman who invites a celebrated male artist to spend the summer in her remote coastal home.
I’m sure there’s a strong streak of feminism running through Cusk’s novel as there is through Siri Hustvedt’s erudite The Blazing World which challenges male privilege in the art world.
The Heather Blazing was my first Colm Tóibín, the one which made me fall in love with his writing. It’s about an Irish judge looking back over a life scarred by the death of his father.
Also set in Ireland, John McGahern’s Amongst Women is about the death of another father as his family gather round the tyrannical patriarch who’s left such a mark on their lives.
You might need to hear the title of the next one to get the link. Malachy McCourt’s A Monk Swimming continues the story of his life begun in his brother Frank’s much better known misery memoir, Angela’s Ashes.
Brother of the More Famous Jack sprang to mind for my next link, Barbara Trapido’s sweet coming-of-age novel about a young woman who comes to understand that looks are far from everything.
Addison Jones’ Wait for Me, Jack is at the other end of the age scale, telling the story of Jack and Milly’s marriage from 2015 to when they first met in 1950.
This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a Booker-longlisted novel on the irresistible (for me) theme of art to a portrait of a long marriage, another theme that interests me. 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.