Six Degrees of Separation

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!

Follow the hashtag #6degrees on Twitter to check out everyone else’s chains.

The starting point for this month’s chain is The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld. In this Stella Prize-winning novel, the lives and fates of three women play out under the shadow of the titular bass rock on the coast of Scotland. The novel is set in the early 1700s, the aftermath of the Second World War and in the present day and Max Porter hailed it as ‘a modern gothic masterpiece.’

The Hours by Michael Cunningham also tells the story of the interlinked lives of three women over three different timelines. Drawing heavily from Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, the novel moves effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, telling the story of one day in the lives of three unforgettable women.

Deirdre Madden also sets her novel Molly Fox’s Birthday over one day. It is the height of summer, and celebrated actor Molly Fox has loaned her house in Dublin to a friend while she is away performing in New York. Alone among all of Molly’s possessions, struggling to finish her latest play, she looks back on the many years and many phases of her friendship with Molly and their college friend Andrew, and comes to wonder whether they really knew each other at all. 

House-sitting also features in The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier, but with slightly more dramatic results. Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. During his stay he agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his scientific research. When Dick samples Magnus’s potion he travels through time all the way back into Medieval Cornwall. As Dick comes to prefer the time spent in the past rather than in the present, his intoxication will have devastating consequences.

Drug –testing and medical experimentation is also at the heart of The Constant Gardner by John Le Carré. The novel tells the story of Justin Quayle, a British diplomat whose activist wife is murdered. Believing there is something behind the murder, he seeks to uncover the truth and finds an international conspiracy of corrupt bureaucracy and pharmaceutical money. In order to find out what happened to his beloved Tessa, Justin must travel the world under a number of assumed identities.

Someone else with dozens of different identities is Joan Foster, main character in Margaret Atwood’s third novel Lady Oracle.  Joan is a romance novelist who has spent her life running away from difficult situations. Once an overweight child whose mother constantly criticizes her she is now a breakthrough literary success with a volume of feminist poetry but fakes her own death to get away from her bipolar husband and her lover, a performance artist called The Royal Porcupine. Lady Oracle is a comic masterpiece which parodies of literary forms and expectations, but mainly subverts the gothic romance.

The most famous of all gothic romances is undoubtedly Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, that epic and unforgettable tale of the wild and passionate love affair between Heathcliff and Cathy, set on the dark Yorkshire Moors.

So, from a modern gothic romance to the ultimate gothic romance, these are my six degrees for this month! Have you read any of my choices?

Next month (3 July 2021), we’ll start with Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.

Six Degrees

Cathy746books View All →

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

27 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I have indeed read some of them. Wuthering Heights, of course, swooning over Heathcliff when I was a teenager and scratching my head about it when I read it a couple of years ago!
    The Constant Gardener is the only Le Carré I’ve read but I thought it was terrific and I liked the film too. Plus Lady Oracle and The Hours, loved them both, and now I see there’s a DDM I haven’t read and will have to find a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I loved him too, as a teenager. But when I re-read it a little while ago for a course I was doing, it seemed so melodramatic and overwrought, I was glad I’d read it as a teenager and could remember why it worked for me back then.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Always pleased to see Molly Fox’s Birthday given a mention. I adored Wuthering Heights when I first read it in my early teens but suspect I’d have a very different reaction now, not to mention pesky Kate Bush earworm!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that you turned your chain into a loop. I haven’t read The Hours (thought I’d seen the movie but when I looked it up, I realise I haven’t) – sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Perhaps I should tackle it with a Mrs Dalloway re-read? (it’s been soooo long since I read any Woolf that I have been contemplating a big re-reading project).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful linkage and imagination, Cathy. 🙂 I’ve read and enjoyed several of them… The Hours, Molly Fox’s Birthday (liked it a lot), The Constant Gardener, and Wuthering Heights. Seen all their film adaptations too, except of course for MFB, which I think can be turned into an interesting movie.


  5. Very clever (I’m having lots of fun today, looking at everyone’s chains. It’s amazing how different they are). I would never have made these connections!
    I’ve read a few in your chain/loop: Wuthering Heights, Molly Fox, The Hours and Lady Oracle.
    I’ve yet to read anything by Evie Wyld & I’m starting to think it’s time I got around to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great chain Cathy. And I really like the covers of some of your books – The hours is very different to the cover we had here and makes such a wonderful nod to Mrs Dalloway. I have read it, and Wuthering Heights. I haven’t read Lady Oracle, but I love your cover. Very neat links!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I found The Hours middling as a book, but I enjoyed the film version. I can’t stand Mrs Dalloway, a fact well documented in my blog, and it’s a maddening itch.

    Molly Fox’s Birthday sounds like a book I’d like. They only have it in large print at my library. Nothing against large print, just curious as to why they’ve focused on this format.

    One day I will get to the Du Maurier and the Le Carré on your list.

    I’ve never understood the love for Wuthering Heights, or any of the Brontës’ books, but am aware I’m in a minority!


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