Six Degrees of Separation: from Postcards From the Edge to Mrs Jordan’s Profession

It’s time again for Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. 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 other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

This month the Six Degrees chain begins with Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher. It’s a novel about an actress in rehab; Carrie Fisher’s bestselling debut novel, an uproarious commentary on Hollywood – the home of success, sex and insecurity, that has become a beloved cult classic.

I haven’t read this book but the title made me think of Susannah Clapp’s A Card from Angela Carter, in which she uses the postcards Angela had sent to her to ‘form a paper trail through her life.’ It is mainly Susannah’s recollections of Angela, full of stories of her family life, her political views and what the critics made of her work.

Moving on from a book about Angela Carter to one by her my second link is to The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, a collection of tales inspired by traditional fairy tales and legends.

I’m staying with fairy tales for my third link, The Ladies of Grace and Adieu by Susanna Clarke, a collection of stories of mystery, magic, fantasy and faerie tales. The story I enjoyed the most was The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse set in Wall, a village in the world created by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.

So, Neil Gaiman is my next link – The Graveyard Book, the story of the baby who escapes a murderer intent on killing his entire family, and who stumbles into the local disused graveyard where he is rescued by ghosts.

Ghosts provide my fifth link with Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel. As a child she believed their house was haunted. Her experience of ghosts at the age of 7 was horrifying as she felt as though something came inside her, ‘some formless, borderless evil’.

Staying with Hilary Mantel my final link is to her biography of an actress, Dora Jordan and her life with the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV. It’s Mrs Jordan’s Profession: The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King, which also links (somewhat loosely) back to the opening book written by an actress.

My chain begins with a novel about Hollywood linking together books about fantasy, fairy tales ghosts and actresses. It’s a circle which came about quite by chance as I moved from one link to the next, not knowing where it would end! I’ve read all these books, apart from The Bloody Chamber which is waiting in my Kindle to be read.

For the second month in a row, my chain does not include any crime fiction!

Have you read Postcards from the Edge. Where would your chain end up?

Next month, on the 4 September 2021, we’ll start with the 2021 Booker Prize nominee, Second Place by Rachel Cusk.

33 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from Postcards From the Edge to Mrs Jordan’s Profession

  1. Of these, the only one I’ve read – quite some time ago – is the Mantel. But Gaiman is always good value, so I’ll have to have a think about which of these to add to my TBR pile. A great chain!

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  2. It’s always so interesting – and surprising – to see where the first book takes all of us. I’d never have thought of any of these books.

    I read some Angela Carter in my youth, and one of my daughters is very into her now, so I’d like to read Susannah Clapp’s book. And when I think about it, the same thing applies to Hilary Mantel – I read Eight Months on Ghazzah Street years ago, and it’s remained with me ever since – but I’ve never got back to her I did read Fludd for a book challenge but did not enjoy it.) I keep promising myself I’ll read Wolf Hall.

    And to answer your question, I’ve never read Postcards from the Edge, nor have I read next month’s starter book; I’m so glad we can take part anyway!

    Thank you for an eye-opening chain.

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    1. I haven’t read Clarke’s Piranesi, just a sample. I didn’t know about the zoom session – I’ll have to look it up. It sounds fascinating.


  3. Interesting links Margaret. I tried reading the Mantel but found it a bit confusing. Might have been my mood at the time though.
    By the way you say your last link is to Mantels biography but the cover image shows Mrs Jordons Profession is by Claire Tomalin.

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    1. Which indeed it is – what was I thinking?!!! That’s messed up the end of the chain – I had in mind to link to Mantel’s book on the French Revolution – A Place of Great Safety – nothing like Mrs Jordan’s Profession. A real senior moment!! Hangs head in shame …


  4. Hi Margaret! I’ve also started with the Postcard theme for my first degree, but then it went in a different direction. The endless possibilities of Six Degrees!

    Loved The Graveyard Book!

    Have a wonderful August.

    Elza Reads

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  5. Great chain. The only one I’ve read is The Bloody Chamber, which I enjoyed, but I’ve been meaning to read The Ladies of Grace Adieu for years as I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell!

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  6. I heard so many great things about Gaiman but I’ve yet to read any books. The Graveyard Book sounds good. I’m putting that on my TBR. I enjoyed your review of it as well!


  7. Love this chain! You’ve mentioned some of my favorite authors here, but works that I still have to read: Hilary Mantel, Gaiman, Susanna Clarke and Angela Carter. I really need to hurry up and finish reading these other books.


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