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 one of my recent favourites, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s novel The Signature of All Things which features a beautiful love affair between two extraordinary characters who are both ahead of their time, and in many respects, a perfect match.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s love story brought to mind the love between two other extraordinary characters, in Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.
My first novel A New Map of the Universe told the story of an architect building a house for her lover. I wrote it as part of a PhD which also comprised an essay about architecture as metaphor in contemporary Australian fiction. I featured Oscar and Lucinda in this essay, as well as Kate Grenville’s novel The Idea of Perfection.
The Idea of Perfection is about the rebuilding of an iconic bridge in an Australian country town. Michael Ondaatje’s gorgeous novel In the Skin of a Lion is also about the building of a bridge, in Toronto, Canada.
The bridge in Ondaatje’s novel is built by migrant workers, whose lives are often very hard. Richard Flanagan’s novel The Sound of One Hand Clapping also deals with the plight of migrant workers, this time those working on the Hydroelectric scheme in Tasmania.
From The Sound of One Hand Clapping to The Sound of Things Falling – a book by Juan Gabriel Vasquez which is on my to-read list. The author is being hailed as one of the great new Latin American writers.
Another much-lauded latin American writer is Roberto Bolaño, whose novel 2666 I read for book club a few years ago.
From love between characters ahead of their time, to bridges, to books I wrote about in my PhD, to migrant workers, and writers who come from the same geographical region, we hopped from The Signature of All Things to 2666 in 6 steps. I wonder where Emma Chapman ended up in her chain? Where will the chain take you? If you have a blog, I’d love you to play along; if not you can post your chain in the comments.
Next month: On Saturday August 1st the chain will begin with Sarah Waters The Paying Guests