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.
Hmmm … 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 …
If 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.
Now, 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.
Anyhow, 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.
A 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.)
Staying 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.
Not 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?