Six degrees of separation, FROM The French Lieutenant’s woman TO …

Another year, but Six Degrees just keeps on keeping on – or, at least, I’ve decided to keep on keeping on with it for the moment. The Six Degrees of Separation meme is currently hosted by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). Click on the link on her blog-name to see her explanation of how it works.

John Fowles, French Lieutenant's womanHmmm … we are starting off the year well. Kate has chosen an old favourite for the first book of the year, John Fowles’ The French lieutenant’s woman, but I have not read it. Like most people, though, I have seen it, so that’s better than nothing. You may wonder why I have chosen a Czech cover for my illustration, but all will become clear in the next para …

Jane Austen, PersuasionIf you know The French lieutenant’s woman and you know me, my first link will be obvious. I’d like to have been more creative, but couldn’t resist being obvious on this occasion. My link in other words is to Jane Austen’s Persuasion (my review) which has a major scene occurring on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. The Cobb is seen clearly on the Czech cover for Fowles’ book, which is set in Lyme Regis.

Elliot Perlman, The street sweeperNow, Austen’s main character in Persuasion is the lovely Anne Elliot. She’s a thoughtful but strong, moral person, and I reckon that if she were alive now, she’d rather enjoy the writing of a thoughtful but strong, moral Australian writer whose first name is her last, Elliot Perlman, so it’s to his The street sweeper (my review) that I’m linking next. Fundamentally, it’s about what makes a good person, something that matters to Anne Elliot too.

Rodney Hall, A stolen seasonAnyhow, Elliot Perlman has a new novel coming out in 2019, which is exciting because he’s not what you call prolific, but he always confronts challenging, timely issues. Another established and respected male author who excited me by having a new work come out last year was Rodney Hall. I reviewed that book, A stolen season, very recently.

Heather Rose, The museum of modern loveA stolen season comprises three loosely connected stories, one of which concerns a man who builds an art gallery to exhibit some very special but confronting art. His values are then affected by that art. Heather Rose’s novel The Museum of Modern Love (my review) is about a rather confronting – or at least unusual – performance art piece by Marina Abramović. The art affects Rose’s characters too – in various ways. (Oh, and in a funny synchronicity, Rose has a new novel coming out this year.)

Raphael Jerusalmy, EvacuationStaying on the art theme, Raphaël Jersualmy’s Evacuation (my review) has three artists at its centre: a filmmaker, a writer, and a visual artist. While not specifically about art, the novel pits these artists, their art and the choices they make against the war around them.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The sympathizerNot surprisingly, given its title, Evacuation commences with an evacuation, one which the three main characters eschew. Another novel which commences with an evacuation – one which most of the main characters are, by contrast very keen to be part of, so keen in fact there’s some skullduggery involved – is Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The sympathizer (my review).

So, this month we started in England (albeit with a French connection lurking in the background) and ended in Vietnam (which has its own French connection!) We spent quite a bit of time in America (as Perlman’s and Rose’s books are set there, and the central section of Nguyen’s book is based there too.) However, we also visited Australia, Israel and, briefly, Belize. Very cosmopolitan we’ve been! Four of my six books were by men, like last month.

Now, over to you: Have you read The French lieutenant’s woman? And, regardless, what would you link to? 

54 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation, FROM The French Lieutenant’s woman TO …

    • Sorry Karen, but I have to say that that’s a no-brainer! I suggest you do your links before you look at others otherwise I reckon you could become paralysed! I do mine the day or even days before and schedule it. Who cares if some links are similar? BTW Brona’s gone with Persuasion too, and I bet she expected me to!

      • Yes I did Sue – sometimes the obvious link is the obvious choice! And it gave me a chance to relink the photographic post I did for both TFLW and Persuasion from my time on the Cobb 🙂

        • Oh, you’ve reminded me to come try again to post a comment on your post. I actually tried twice this morning but they went AWOL and I got very frustrated. I was on the browser on the iPad. I’ll try it again now I’m on the laptop.

        • Just remembered that I need to clear my cache on google & chrome & safari every now and again. Done. And I can log in again 😊

        • These blog platforms can be a trial can’t they? I much prefer WordPress as you know, but it has its moments too, particularly when “they” upgrade things.

        • Replying from the wp app is fine, but if I open a blog via twitter or Feedly & try to leave a comment, then it all goes pear-shaped.

        • I guess there are so many platforms for them to maintain. I rarely open a blog through Twitter (and don’t use Readers) but I have one blogger who has a hosted WP blog and I can never reply through the WP notification drop down (on my lap top) or via the WP app. I can only do it by going to her blog. Very frustrating. I think it’s to do with her hosting set up.

        • Haha Karen, the way I look at it, if I can do it after I can do it before? I must say I like doing it before, because then I’m unsullied by other ideas and needn’t feel I’ve got to be different!

  1. Decades ago I was obsessed with TFLW on VHS – that was pre-DVD – and HAD to read the book. It was very different in a literal way from the movie, though I could see that creative licence was taken to convey similar messages. My “connection” was finding myself at a retreat at Burton Bradstock years later and being told the lights in the distance were Lyme Regis. I realised an old forgotten dream of mine to visit the location of TFLW was going to happen! And it did!

  2. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: From The French Lieutenant’s Woman , to … | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

  3. I have never tried FLW because I guessed I’d be irritated by Fowle’s rather knowing sense of superiority to his Victorian protagonists…probably unfair of me. I think Hardy and Darwin might be writers to be linked with Fowle’s novel.

      • I remember reading some handbook about modern English literature that featured extracts from the novel. Perhaps I’m not really a metafiction person! FLW is still very much in print which means that it has lasted long enough to be a modern classic.

        • Thanks Ian – yes, I’ve felt rather than it’s falling into that category now, and that that means there’s something more to it than straight historical fiction. I quite like metafiction – it can make me laugh (not as in “funny-haha” but as in “that’s clever”.

  4. I thought of linking to Persuasion (one of my favourite books) too but went in a completely different direction! I always enjoy reading your 6 degrees posts because you include books I’ve never heard of and sound so interesting.

  5. I have yet to read any of Perlman’s adult books, but I can highly, highly recommend his recent children’s book The Adventures of Catvinkle – it was my fav early chapter book read of 2018.

    And I will add my name to those of us excited about a new book by Rose.

    • Oh thanks Brona. I wasn’t aware of that at all. Will keep an eye out for it. I think I’ve read all his adult fiction or maybe most. Three dollars is a great one to start with.

  6. I am glad that you are continuing with this meme. It is both interesting and fun. The connections that you made here are very neat. I also have not read The French Lieutenant’s Woman but it has been on my radar for awhile.

      • I half read The Collector and gave up on it. I found it a truly horrible book, not in the way it was written, but what he was writing about. I’m at the stage where I read for amusement, fun, enjoyment, uplift. This book was providing none of that in spades. I moved on 😀

        • Haha Neil, yes, I understand that it’s a confronting story. I probably never will read Fowles – I think at my age I have to start saying that! There are some books, and some authors I probably just won’t get to. Unlike a blogging friend I have no need to read the 1001 books before you die books!

  7. Hi Sue, my directions are completely different to yours. I have read TFLW. My immediate thoughts went to Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, (both centre on Lymes Regis), to another John Fowles novel The Collector; (one of my favourite reads). Followed by The Good People by Hannah Kent; Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; and finishing with The Only Story by Julian Barnes. It is always great fun doing Six Degrees!

  8. Superb links, Sue.

    I didn’t know there were new books coming from Perlman and Rose – lots to look forward to. I really loved Museum of Modern Love – I saw the Abramović retrospective that was held in Hobart at MONA a few years ago and it made such an impression. I have her memoir in my TBR stack.

  9. Ha! I was thinking earlier this week as I considered my TBR wish list for this year that I’d like to see some art connections. Et voila – Sue provides me with a list of suggestions!

    As for Persuasion being the same first book for several bloggers: it adds another note of interest for me, because they all diverged from there.

    Brilliant links, as usual.

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