Old image alert – Kate @Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts #6Degrees but this is a good refresh of the rules.
In case you’ve been hiding under a literary rock, the 18th July marked the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. So it’s only fitting that this month’s #6degrees starts with her most well-known, and dare I say, most favourite and best book, Pride and Prejudice.
I’ve decided to keep my first link simple by staying with the same author.
I’ve also just finished reading Lady Susan, Austen’s ‘most ambitious and sophisticated early work‘ (as described by wikipedia), so it’s still fresh in my mind. It features a rather salacious, manipulative protagonist, whose character is revealed via a series of letters.
The epistolary style of Lady Susan reminds me of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Written just a handful of years before Lady Susan, this novel depicts the decadence of the French aristocracy just prior to the Revolution.
Which leads me to Pure by Andrew Miller – another book set on the edge of the French Revolution…in a cemetery. I’ve just spent an hour on goggle trying to find the name for this pot-boiler of a book I read 20 yrs ago about a woman buried alive in Sydney after suffering some kind of seizure that made it look like she was dead. Google failed me.
So my next link will take us to London and Highgate Cemetery instead.
The Highgate Vampire by Asa Bailey is a YA thriller that appealed to me at the time because I had once lived in Highgate.
I also once lived in Cowra, which made me very keen to read Thomas Keneally’s recent book Shame and the Captives, set in a fictional town based on Cowra. Trouble was I hated it. I was really annoyed by the fictionalising of Cowra. It was obviously meant to be Cowra, Keneally made no bones about that fact, yet he chose to give the town a fictional name. It bugged me more than I can say and for reasons I cannot really articulate. I also struggled with the dialogue, but that’s another matter entirely….
Finally, we come to another book centred around real events.
Sarah Schmidt’s recent See What I Have Done was a fictionalised account of the Lizzie Borden murders. Unlike Keneally’s attempt, Schmidt was able to get inside Borden’s head and give her a voice. She also gave us a plausible scenario in which the murders might have taken place.
From a classic story about love and marriage set in Edwardian society, through the disintegration of French society during the Revolution, to the fantastical underbelly of Highgate cemetery and WWII prisoners in rural NSW to finish with unsolved murders in 1890’s Fall River, Massachusetts. It has been quite a journey!
Where did you end up with your #6degrees?
September’s starting book will be Wild Swans by Jung Chang.