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. This month’s chain begins with Emma Healey’s Elizabeth Is Missing, the story of an elderly woman descending into dementia and an old mystery that still haunts her.
At Perth Writers Festival, I saw Emma Healey speak on a panel called ‘Unraveling’ which explored the issue of what happens when our mind doesn’t behave the way it should. Also on the panel was John Darnielle speaking of his novel Wolf in White Van.
Wolf in White Van centres on a male character who has experienced significant trauma in his youth, as does Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch.
As an adult, Tartt’s protagonist has a problem with substance abuse/addiction, as does one of the central characters in Brett Easton Ellis’s seminal novel of disaffected youth, Less Than Zero.
Less Than Zero has the steps of a swimming pool on the cover, just like Maria Semple’s This One Is Mine. How’s that for a shallow connection? (Shallow. Swimming pool steps. See what I did there?)
This One Is Mine is set in California and is the story of a marriage in crisis. Edan Lepucki’s debut California is also set in – you guessed it – California, and also examines marriage, this time that of newlyweds.
The newlyweds in California are facing unusual circumstances, as early in their marriage they have to leave the city, which is disintegrating before their eyes, and make a go of it living in the country. These types of stories are known as ‘slow apocalypses’ and James Bradley’s new book Clade also fits that mould.
From disordered minds to slow apocalypse via trauma, addiction, swimming pools and marriage: the strange madness of 6 degrees of separation. I wonder where Emma Chapman ended up with her chain?
Your turn: Create a chain on your blog and share the link in the comments, or just write a chain in the comments! The more the merrier.
Next month: On Saturday June 6th the chain will begin with JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy