Six Degrees of Separation – Kairos to The Night Guest

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 Jenny Erpenbeck’s Kairos which I was pleased to see win this year’s International Booker Prize with its allegorical story of a love affair between an older man and a young woman in the last years of the GDR which turns abusive.

Daniela Krien was also born in the old GDR and explores similar themes to Erpenbeck in her fiction, including Love in Five Acts which looks at five different women, teenagers when the Berlin Wall fell.

The cover of Love in Five Acts reminds me of Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson which I’ve yet to read

I’m linking by title to Mary Costello’s latest short story collection, Barcelona which contains several stories about animal rights, some not for the faint-hearted.

Olga Tokarczuk tackles the same theme in her eccentric crime novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead.

Tokarczuk’s title is a reference to a William Blake quotation as is Tracey Chevalier’s Burning Bright in which Blake features as a character.

That title brings to mind Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest whose main protagonist is convinced a tiger is stalking around her Australian beachside house at night.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a novel about five women, ex-citizens of the old GDR, to an elderly woman facing a danger but not quite the one she thinks. 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.


21 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – Kairos to The Night Guest”

  1. A great chain from which I’ve read – and enjoyed – the first three, while the Tokarczuk is sitting on my shelves awaiting its turn, and the final two can go on my TBR, as is often the case with your recommendations.

  2. Great links. I love Tracy Chevalier but Burning Bright is one I haven’t read yet. My chain is made up of books with one-word titles this month, which was harder than I thought it was going to be!

  3. Some great sounding books here, Susan, though I’ve only read The night guest (with a very different cover). I really liked that book. I love your link on those two covers too – I can see why one reminded you of the other.

    Why is that collection of short stories called Barcelona? Are they all set there? Or is one of the stories set there? I’m always interested in the titling of short story collections.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. The paperback cover for The Night Guest here is different but I preferred the hardback tiger. There was a little trend for divers on covers a while ago and those two were my favourites. The opening story in Costello’s collection is set in Barcelona but that’s it which is slightly odd, I think.

  4. Interesting chain. Have Kairos on my bookstack to read. Mary Costelloe is a well loved writer here in Ireland but I haven’t read her yet

  5. Literary Feline

    I admit Kairos doesn’t appeal to me, but I do like the sound of Love in Five Acts and will have to check that one out. I would like to read Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest and now you have me curious about Olga Tokarczuk’s work. Thank you for sharing your chain!

    1. You’re welcome, and glad to have piqued your interest with three excellent books. Love in Five Acts is particularly good. I hope you enjoy them if you get to them.

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