Six Degrees of Separation – Bridget Jones’s Diary to The Devils of Loudun

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. 

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This month we’re starting with the last title in August’s chain which for me was Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, a comedy about a hapless thirtysomething woman and the two men courting her. 

Although I’ve seen (and enjoyed) the film several times, I’ve not read Fielding’s bestseller but I did read her debut, Cause Celeb, set in a famine-hit fictional African country where a woman has been running a refugee camp.

Cause Celeb features a TV programme about the refugees’ plight as does Timor Vermes’ satire, The Hungry and the Fat, following a group of migrants journeying to Germany, accompanied by a reality TV star broadcasting live to the nation. 

Set in Berlin, Jennifer Erpenbeck’s Go Went Gone is a more serious take on asylum seekers with whom a retired professor becomes involved.

Erpenbeck also wrote End of Days whose many different versions of a woman’s life reminded me of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life which does the same for Ursula, on a mission to assassinate Hitler. 

Not my favourite author but the name Ursula reminded me of D H Lawrence’s Women in Love which features a character of that name. 

I can’t think of Women in Love without remembering Oliver Reed and the (in)famous wrestling scene in Ken Russell’s film version. Reed also starred in ‘The Devils’, Russell’s over-the-top adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon based on accounts of demonic posession at a French convent school whose pupils become obsessed with a handsome and dissolute priest.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a bestselling author’s debut about a young woman getting over a love affair by taking herself off to Africa to a book about an outbreak of sexual hysteria in seventeenth-century France. 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 – Bridget Jones’s Diary to The Devils of Loudun”

  1. What fun these chains are, who’d imagine a link between Bridget Jones and Huxley, even if through various others! I remember reading Women in Love at one point and finding it rather boring indeed–not sure I ever finished. Life After Life sounds very interesting. I read an alternative history young adult book which had a plot to assassinate Hitler which had also turned out very good,

    1. I certainly didn’t expect to end up where I did! I find Lawrence tedious, too. Life After Life is a very clever way of looking at alternative history, or rather several different alternatives.

  2. Now you’ve put Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling in the nude in my mind… According to imdb trivia, they each consumed a bottle of vodka before filming the scene. Plus Michael Caine was offered the part played by Oliver Reed. Hmm, Alan Bates and Michael Caine… the mind boggles.

    1. I’m sorry I’ve saddled you with that, Cathy! I’d not heard about the vodka but it’s entirely believable. I’m left with another image of Oliver Reed from The Devils which I’m not going to describe…

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