Six Degrees of Separation – Tom Lake to Death Comes for the Archbishop

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 Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake, one of my books of last year, in which a mother tells her twentysomething daughters the story of the summer she had a brief fling with a fellow actor, now an Oscar-winning movie star.

Lara and her daughters are harvesting cherries bringing to mind Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, perhaps a bit of a cheat as it’s a play but the script is available in book form.

I’m linking by title to Shena Mackay’s The Orchard on Fire, the story of a childhood friendship which goes horribly wrong.

Mackay’s April is a brilliant child narrator as is Swiv who is living with her grandmother in Miriam Toews’ Fight Night.

Iain Banks’ The Crow Road opens with the memorable line: It was the day my grandmother exploded.

Banks’ novel takes its title from the Scottish saying ‘away the crow road’ signifying death. No such euphemisms in Salena Godden’s Mrs Death Misses Death.

Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop is about two clerics tasked with establishing the newly created New Mexican diocese.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a Russian cherry orchard sold to pay off debts to a twentieth-century American classic set amongst the indigenous people of the Southwest. 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.

27 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – Tom Lake to Death Comes for the Archbishop”

  1. I don’t know the Miriam Toews or the Willa Cather: you’ve as ever made a cleverly-constructed chain with appetising (can chains be appetising?) links.

  2. I used cherries as my first link as well, but in a different way. I enjoyed Death Comes for the Archbishop but haven’t read any of the other books in your chain.

  3. Wonderful chain this month Susan–loved the cherry link especially. Mrs Death Misses Death is one I did mean to pick up but it somehow slipped my mind. Glad to be reminded of it!

  4. I love your six degrees of separation theme. I read Patchett’s Tom Lake. Didn’t think it was as good as some of her previous books, which have more depth

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