Tag Archives: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Six Degrees of Separation – from Three Women to Flying Finish

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 other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

This month we’re starting with Lisa Taddeo’s’ Three Women which has been all over my Twitter feed for months. I haven’t read it but I know it’s about female desire.

As is Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden, a catalogue of female sexual fantasies, very popular years ago when I was a bookseller. Copies used to turn up all over the shop, furtively shoved on to inappropriate shelves when shy browsers felt on the verge of being discovered, I imagine

Friday’s book is not to be confused with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett, a much-loved children’s classic in which a lonely little girl’s life is transformed when she finds the key to a locked garden.

Taking the garden link a step further, after a tour of the world’s miseries Voltaire’s eighteenth-century satire, Candide, ends with an exhortation to tend your garden.

Candide is regarded as a seminal Enlightenment text. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liasons Dangereuses, about the corruption of a young girl, was also published during the Enlightenment. Renamed Dangerous Liasons, it was made into a film starring Glenn Close.

As was Meg Woltizer’s The Wife which features a celebrated male author whose spouse is the real star of the literary show, a part Close played beautifully.

Which leads me to Dick Francis’ Flying Finish. Francis’ wife did a great deal of the research for his novels, learning to fly for this one, apparently. Unlike Wolitzer’s character, Francis was only too happy to credit his wife’s contribution, describing them as a team

This month’s Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from a book which explores female desire to transporting race horses. 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.