And so we come to December and the last Six Degrees of Separation for the year. For newbies to blogging – because the rest of you surely know by now – this is a meme currently hosted by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). For information about how the meme works, please click the link on her blog-name. It’s fascinating to see the wild and wonderful paths different bloggers go, all starting with the same book – which, this month is a book I haven’t read (as is more common than not), Stephen King’s It. As always though, I have read all the books I link to.
The reason I haven’t read It is that I’m not a big fan of horror, either to read or see in movies, and It is, I understand, horror. I have enjoyed some movie adaptations of King’s novellas, like The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by me, and Apt pupil, but the horror stories? Not so much. So, how to link a book that I have not only not read but is a genre I don’t like? Well, I’ve chosen something superficial …
One-word-titles! How original, eh?! There are many possibilities here, but I’m going to choose one I read this year, Ian McEwan’s Nutshell (my review). It’s one of those books that some people love and some hate, mostly because of its narrator. Some people just don’t like a foetus as a narrator! Can’t understand it myself. After all, fiction is supposed to be about the imagination. Seriously, though, I do understand the uncertainty about such a device, but I thought McEwan pulled it off …
As did too, I felt, Courtney Collins with her dead baby narrator in The burial (my review). If you think a foetus is a little bizarre, a dead baby speaking from the grave may be a step too far for you, but again, I thought Collins carried it off to present a fascinating historical fiction work about an Australian female bushranger. I haven’t heard anything more about Collins since, but I do hope she’s working on another book.
Anyhow, my next link is the obvious one. It’s on the word “burial” in the title and is, of course, Hannah Kent’s Burial rites (my review) Not only does it have “burial” in the title, but it is also a work of historical fiction, albeit one set in remote 19th century Iceland, not early 20th century outback Australia. Kent’s book, however, was not the first book set in Iceland that I’ve read. That honour goes to my next linked book …
Halldór Laxness’ spare, mesmerising Independent people. Unfortunately, I read this book a few years before I started blogging, so I don’t have a review to link to. One day I might fish out my reading notes and try to concoct a review, just to have it recorded on my blog. But, I probably won’t – because I fear the result would be too superficial. I really need to have a book fresh in my mind to write my reviews.
Now, the thing about Laxness, besides being Icelandic, is that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1955. He is, apparently, Iceland’s only Nobel Laureate. Aussies may see where this is going – it’s to Patrick White, who is not quite our only Nobel Laureate, but he is our only Nobel Laureate in Literature. The Nobel Prize goes, as you know, to a body of work, so I’m doing the logical thing and have chosen the novel that got him going, his debut novel, Happy Valley (my review).
I’m going to stick with this idea of debut novel for my last link – and choose another older debut novel, Louise Mack’s The world is round (my review). While White’s book was first published in 1939, the year he turned 27, Mack’s book was published in 1896 when she was 26. Mack may not have gone on to have the stellar literary career that White did, but she’s part of our early literary tradition and I don’t want her forgotten!
So, this month we’ve travelled the globe a bit, from America to England to Australia to Iceland and back to Australia! We’ve visited remote cold places and remote hot places. And we’ve met some unusual narrators. I’ve had fun – and I hope you have too.
And now, to end, have you read It? And whether or not you have, what would you link to?