And so we come to the last Six Degrees of Separation meme of the year, and Kate has chosen a special book (for me anyhow) as our starting book. However, first, I need to tell you that if you are new to blogging, and don’t know what this meme is about, please check host Kate’s blog – booksaremyfavouriteandbest.
Last month’s starting book, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, is of course a classic. This month’s would have been a classic I’m sure, if only the author had managed to finish it. The book is Sanditon (my review) and it was written – well, 11 chapters anyhow – by Jane Austen. Kate chose it, as you probably know, because Andrew Davies’ television adaptation (of his version of the completed story) is currently being broadcast. Of course I have read it, more than once …. making five the number of starting books I’ve read this year.
For my first link, I’m choosing Thea Astley’s Drylands (my review) which might sound surprising, though, like Austen’s book it is set in a small (non-urban) community. However, the reason I’m linking to it is not that, but because Drylands was Astley’s last novel (albeit she managed to finish hers before she died.)
Now, Drylands has an unusual form. It is a novel, really, but it can read like a collection of short stories, which are written by someone called Janet. Another novel that can also be described as a collection of short stories, though not quite as tricksy in form as Astley’s, is Tara June Winch’s Swallow the air (my review). Coincidentally, it is a debut novel (as opposed to Astley’s swan song one!)
And here I’m going to change tack and move from Australia to France. Tara June Winch now lives in France, and has for some years. An Australian author who sells very well in France is, in fact, local Canberra writer, Karen Viggers. Her novel, The orchardist’s daughter (my review), has, like her previous novels, been translated into French. Its title is Le Bruissement des feuilles, which is, in English, The rustle of leaves. Hmm… I could link to another book published with a different title overseas, but we’re going to (sort of) stay in France …
… and link to a book by an Australian writer (another Canberran in fact) that was drafted at a writer’s retreat in France and published by the people, La Muse, who are behind that retreat. The author is John Clanchy and his book, Sisters (my review).
So far I’ve been a bit nationalistic in my French links, so next I’m linking to a book by – an English writer! Did I trick you there? However, it is about French people, Caroline Moorhead’s biography Dancing to the precipice: The life of Lucie De La Tour Du Pin, Eyewitness to an era (my review), which is set before, during and after the French Revolution.
And finally, because of course I had to do it, a book actually written in France by a French writer. I’ve read a handful of French writers since I started blogging, so the choice was a bit of a challenge. However, given the flamboyance of some of the French aristocracy covered by Moorehead in her book, I thought perhaps Pierre LeMaitre’s novel,The great swindle (my review), with its damaged but flamboyant character, Édouard Péricourt, would be the best match. (These last two books could also be linked by the fact that I probably wouldn’t have read them had they not been chosen by my reading group!)
So, we started in England with Austen, before moving to Australia. We then dallied a little longer in Australia, but with French connections, before finally landing in France. We have covered over two centuries in our travels, and have, as often seems to be the case with my Six Degrees, met four women and two men authors.
And now, my usual questions: Have you read Sanditon? And, regardless, what would you link to?