Tag Archives: Acqua Alta

Six Degrees of Separation – From The Road to Northanger Abbey

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 Cormac McCarthy’s The Road which has become something of a dystopian classic, following a man and his young son as they walk through a post-apocalyptic America. Personally, I’m hoping that the corona virus will put the kybosh on dystopian fiction.

You could say that Richard Yates Revolutionary Road depicts a suburban dystopia which young marrieds Frank and April think they can escape, a plan that ends in betrayal.

The late and sadly missed Iain Banks’ The Crow Road is an old favourite of mine. Part thriller, part family saga, part coming-of-age story, it follows Prentice McHoan who’s determined to get to the bottom of what happened to his Uncle Rory many years before.

‘Away the crow road’ is a Scottish expression for death, according to Banks’ novel, which brings to mind Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice about a man’s obsession with a beautiful boy against the backdrop of a cholera-stricken Venice.

Donna Leon’s Acqua Alta is just one of a long series of novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti based in the city of Venice where Leon has lived for many years.

It seems that fictional detectives are often associated with beautiful cities. Peter Lovesey’s The Last Detective is set in my home town of Bath as are most of his novels featuring Superintendent Peter Diamond.

Bath is also the setting for Jane Austen’s satire on gothic fiction, Northanger Abbey. There’s an apartment complex I sometimes pass whose name pays tribute to her novel.

This month’s Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from dystopian America to my home town by way of Scotland and Venice. 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.