Six Degrees of Separation is 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.
The chain this month begins with No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, a book I haven’t read. ‘Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.‘ Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021 and the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. I don’t think I’ll read it.
As usual I spent some time thinking about where to start my chain – and came up with several options. Maybe another novel shortlisted for the Book Prize of the Women’s Prize for fiction, but instead I came up with another book about talking –
Daniel Isn’t Talking by Marti Leimbach, a novel. Daniel is autistic, but at first Stephen his British father refuses to accept that there is anything wrong with him, whilst his American mother, Melanie, struggles to find out what is wrong with him and the best way of looking after him and helping him to talk, play and become as ‘normal’ as possible.
My second link is to another character called Daniel – Daniel Hawthorne in The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. ex-policeman, Daniel Hawthorne, who had been an adviser for Horowitz’s Foyle’s War series. The police call on Hawthorne as a consultant on out-of-the ordinary cases and he is working on the Diana Cowper murder. He proposes that Horowitz writes a book about him and his investigations into the case.
Magpie Murders also by Anthony Horowitz is my third link. This s a brilliant book by a master story-teller, with a wonderfully intricate plot. It’s a prime example of a puzzle-type of crime fiction combining elements of the vintage-style golden age crime novel with word-play and cryptic clues and allusions to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s also a novel within a novel, with mystery piled upon mystery.
My fourth link is to another book that contains a story within a story – Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Beginning with Iris’s account of her sister’s tragic death, Atwood then introduces a novel-within-a-novel, entitled The Blind Assassin. It is a science fiction story, a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron.
My fifth link is to a novel also set on a planet – a real one, Mars, in The Martian by Andy Weir. I haven’t read this but I have watched the film , which I read is a faithful adaptation. An astronaut is stranded on Mars with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Being a botanist, he creates a garden inside the ‘Hab’ using Martian soil fertilized with the crew’s bio-waste and manufactures water from leftover rocket fuel.
My sixth link: is to Stowaway to Mars by John Wyndham writing as John Beynon, was first published in 1936 as Planet Plane They claim Mars to be part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, a claim later disputed by the Russians when a second rocket lands.
My chain started with a book about living a life on social media to living a life on Mars, taking in books about autism, crime fiction and a novel within a novel.
Next month (March 5, 2022), we’ll start with a modern classic and a book that I have read, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.