6 Degrees of Separation: This Book Will Save Your Life

Greetings, bookworms and welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly meme in which myself and fellow author Emma Chapman invite you to link six books in a chain, according to whatever connections spring to mind. The rules are: there are no rules! This month’s chain begins with AM Homes’ novel This Book Will Save Your Life.

This Book Will Save Your Life is a novel about a mid-life crisis, which could be a gloomy topic but this is one madcap ride! So many crazy things happen, and the protagonist gets unwittingly swept along, much like the protagonist in Kazuo Ishiguro’s absurd and slightly surreal novel The Unconsoled. 

Ishiguro’s central character is a musician, as is the protagonist in Richard Powers‘ recent Booker-shortlisted novel Orfeo. Combining his two passions for biochemistry and music, leads unexpectedly, to him being accused of bioterrorism.

Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto also features a group of ‘terrorists’, telling the story of a months-long embassy siege and the relationship that forms between the prisoners and their captives.

Bel Canto is set in an unnamed central American country with a pretty dodgy political system, much like Joan Didion’s novel A Book of Common Prayer.

Thinking about the title of Didion’s novel brought me to Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead which focuses on the relationship between a deeply religious man and his children, to whom faith is also important, as well as sometimes troubling. There’s a lot of prayer as I remember it!

Gilead features an adult woman caring for her ageing father, as does Willy Vlautin’s incredible portrait of the American underclass, The Free.


Thus we’ve made our way from a man in LA suffering a midlife crisis, through music, terrorism and religious faith to those caring for their aged family members. Such are the crazy twists and turns of six degrees! Find out where Emma’s chain took her. And then share your own chain in the comments below.

Next month: On Saturday March 7th, the chain will begin with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild


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15 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: This Book Will Save Your Life

    1. Oh, I feel like you’re cheating on me, with someone you like better!

      But I’m prepared to forgive you, as long as your promise to read Bel Canto very very soon.

  1. Bel Canto is fantastic, but I think we’ve had this discussion before!
    I am super keen to read Orfeo. I don’t know why I don’t move it to the top of my book list but life works in silly ways sometimes.
    I have Robinson’s Lila on my kindle, just waiting to go too…
    Here’s my chain: http://wp.me/p3dB1g-p8

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