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 JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Though I loved the Harry Potter series, I heard only so-so reviews of this, her first novel for adults, and I was really put off by the ugly cover, so I haven’t read it myself. According to the blurb it is set in a small-town England, which looks idyllic but behind the facade is less so.
Matt Haig’s The Radleys is a story of a seemingly ordinary English family in an ordinary house on an ordinary street – but what goes on behind closed doors at The Radleys is at once a satire on the vampire genre and a warm novel about family life.
Not actually related, but also a Radley, is Boo Radley from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee was apparently great pals with Truman Capote and was knocking around with him while he was writing his documentary-style non-fiction work In Cold Blood.
In Cold Blood is the true story of the murder of the Clutter family and it is really rather a gruesome read. Another book which includes a brutal assault is Louise Erdrich’s brilliant coming-of-age novel The Round House.
The Round House explores teenage friendship with great perceptiveness, as does Megan Abbott, especially in her most recent novel The Fever, about a strange spate of fits and fainting spells that pass through a group of high school girlfriends.
Some of the girls in The Fever are perhaps not as loyal to each other as they might be, not unlike schoolteacher Barbara in Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal (published in the US as What Was She Thinking?), whose ‘support’ for her friend and fellow teacher Sheba takes a strange turn after Sheba’s affair with a student goes sour.
From what hides behind closed doors, to people who share surnames, from authors who are chums, to violent crimes, from adolescents to frenemies: all in a day’s work here at 6 degrees of separation. Where did Emma Chapman end up?
Your turn: Create a chain on your blog and share the link in the comments, or just post your chain directly in the comments. The more the merrier.
Next month: On Saturday July 4th the chain will begin with The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert