Six Degrees of Separation!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these!

Six Degrees of Separation is the brainchild 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 Six Degrees of Separation is one of my favourite books of last year – Trust by Hernan Diaz. Set in New York in the 1920s, Trust tells the story of a billionaire financier and his philanthropic wife through four different texts – a fictional account of their life, the draft of a biography, a writer’s account of creating that biography and finally, the diary of the financier’s wife. Each text adds depth to the story of this couple, shedding more and more pretence as it goes along until it arrives at the primary source and the true nature of their relationship is revealed.

Another book featuring an alpha male who works in Finance is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. In that notorious novel Patrick Bateman is a high-powered Wall Street broker, who kills with abandon in between returning videotapes, admiring business cards and trying to get a ‘res’ at the exclusive Dorsia Restaurant. However, at the end of the novel, when it appears that one of his supposed victims has been spotted alive and well, there is a suggestion that Patrick might be losing his grip on reality.

Mrs March the titular character of Virginia Fieto’s debut novel is also losing her grip on reality. She is married to the famous writer George March. His latest bestseller features an ugly and unpleasant prostitute, when someone suggests to Mrs March that the character is based on her, her paranoia grows, and her mind starts to disintegrate. This is a wonderful character study of a mind in freefall and a chilling exploration of the darkness that so many of us hide underneath a veneer of respectability.

From one wife to another, Rachel Ingalls Mrs Caliban tells the outrageous story of a married woman whose quiet suburban life is turned upside down when she discovers a sea monster who has just escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research, in her kitchen. Romance blooms for Mrs Caliban and her sea monster named Larry.

Larry is the obvious name of the lead protagonist of Larry’s Party by Carol Shields. The novel examines the life of Larry Weller, an “ordinary man made extraordinary” by his unique talent for creating labyrinths and mazes. Larry is originally employed as a florist, but on his honeymoon, he visits Hampton Court Palace and becomes lost in a maze there, sparking a life-long obsession with mazes and labyrinths.

From literal labyrinths to labyrinths of the mind, The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a fictionalised account of the life and impending death of Simon Bolívar, known in six Latin American countries as the Liberator, and one of the most revered heroes of the western hemisphere. The novel follows Bolívar as he takes his final journey in 1830 down the Magdalena River toward the sea, revisiting the scenes of his former glory and lamenting his lost dream of an alliance of American nations. As he wanders in the labyrinth of his failing powers-and still-powerful memories-he defies his impending death until the last.

Another fictionalised account of an historic figure who defies impending death to the last is The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell.In 1558, Lucrezia, daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, was married to Alfonso d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara. A year after entering her husband’s court in 1560 aged just 16, she died, supposedly of illness, but poison was also suspected. O’Farrell threads together historical fact, portraiture and poetic fantasy using them as the basis for a fictionalised account of Lucrezia’s short life where she is forced too young into a dynastic marriage.

So there you have it. From 1920’s New York to Italy in the 1500’s via sea monsters, mazes and murder, these are my Six Degrees of Separation for this month! Have you read any of the links in my chain?

Six Degrees

Cathy746books View All →

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

17 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I have read Larry’s party, and my reading group is going to do The marriage portrait this year. I’ve read quite a few Marquez, but not this one. I enjoyed your links but most of all I love how pretty your book mosaic (book tile) is. How coordinated are all those greens and red/rusts yet not garish!


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