Six Degrees of Separation: from Normal People to Wuthering Heights

Six Degrees of Separation is the brain child of Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best where we all start with the same book and see where our links take us!

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This month we begin with Sally Rooney’s ubiquitus Normal People.

If there was a Venn Diagram of people who like Normal People and people who didn’t, I would be the lone little stick figure in the ‘didn’t like’ side.

I much preferred Tender by Belinda McKeon – another love story also set in the gorgeous grounds of Trinity College in Dublin – which explores the tempestuous and obsessive relationship between Catherine and her friend James.

Another novel which focuses on obsessive love is Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, which sees the lives of two strangers altered forever after they are witness to a hot-air ballooning accident. The accident and the feelings that arise from it, will alter both their lives irreparably.

Don DeLillo’s huge, structurally complex story of post-atomic America – Underworld – opens with a scene where a married couple float in a hot-air balloon over the New Mexico desert. The novel then tells the story of their relationship in reverse chronology, where nothing is as happy as it seems.

Another story told in reverse chronology is The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, which follows the lives of four Londoners starting in 1947 and ending in 1941. The interconnected nature of their lives and tbose of their friends are played out in the shadow of World War II.

Four connected lives are again played out in the shadow of World War II – but this time in Italy, rather than London – in The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. Ondaatje’s tale of a burned man, his nurse, a Sikh British Arty sapper and a Canadian thief won the Booker Prize in 1992.

Anthony Minghella’s film adaptation featured Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche, but the pair had starred together previously in a 1992 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. We come full circle then from one unsuitable love story to another – from Connell and Marianne to Heathcliff and Cathy!

So there we have it – from Dublin to Italy, students to soldiers and love to war – those are my Six Degrees for this month.

Look forward to seeing where everyone else’s trails have taken them!

Next month’s chain (4 July) will start with What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.

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Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

31 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’ll join you in that tiny ‘didn’t like’ camp — I loved Rooney’s first novel but wasn’t as taken with this one as everyone else. I’ve read several of your picks this month and particularly loved the Waters. I didn’t know anything about Underworld but you make it sound very appealing. My neighbour lent me the DVD of Enduring Love (after we did a different McEwan novel for book club), so I might watch that this weekend.

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  2. I enjoyed your links. I’m one of the few people yet to read Normal People or Wuthering Heights – there can’t be many of us! I did love Enduring Love and The Night Watch, but I ought to read Delillo properly too one day!

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  3. English Patient to Wuthering Heights – now that’s an interesting connection!
    I’ve yet to read Normal People. Wasn’t all that enthused by the description of the plot but got heavily leaned on by my niece who kept raving about it and virtually shoved it in my hands at the checkout….. The more coverage I have seen about the tv adaptation, the less inclined I am to now read it…

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  4. Great chain! I loved Enduring Love but wasn’t mad keen on Wuthering Heights way back when. I really need to re-read it – it deserves a second chance! And one day I’ll read Underworld – it’s on my list (isn’t everything? 😉 )

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  5. The links idea is an interesting one to try out. I often acccidentally discover links between successive books (or their authors), which adds pleasure to reading the books. Then maybe I would go in a particular reading direction as a result of finding a link, so you never really know where your reading will take you (great fun!)

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