Six Degrees of Separation – From All the Light We Cannot See to Canada.


It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month’s chain begins with Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See – it has lots of great themes that could be used as a starting point but I’m linking it to Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears. Both were books that I read in the last few weeks of the year (2014 and 2012 respectively) – too late for me to push them on others as ‘my best book of the year’.

From Foal’s Bread to Rosalie Ham’s The Dressmaker – both books are set in rural Australian towns – memorably so.

One of the key themes in The Dressmaker is ‘memory’. Memory, and the accuracy of memories, is central to the plot of one of my favourite books, Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Every member of my book group loved Atonement. It’s a rare thing for a book to get a unanimous thumbs-up from my group but it happened recently with Akhil Sharma’s Family Life.

Family Life is a story about finding your place in a new country, as is Ru by Kim Thúy, a beautifully written memoir.

Ru is the story of Thúy’s immigration to Canada, so the final link in the chain is to Richard Ford’s Canada, a book that I had mixed feelings about but still has one of the best opening lines I’ve ever read.

This month’s chain traveled from France to Australia, to England and the US, and from Vietnam to Canada – I wonder where others went?


7 responses

  1. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read All The Light We Cannot See. I hope to get to it at some stage…. but keep saying things like that about some very amazing books I’ve missed (and am yet to do so!)

    • Oddly, I felt the wind went out of the sails a little toward the end of All the Light (but not enough to detract from the whole experience of the book).

      I keep thinking I need to reread Atonement but knowing the ending might not make it so good the second time.

    • From memory it’s broken into three distinct sections – I really loved the first and last parts of the story but was a bit ‘meh’ about the middle section. Don’t let that put you off – the beginning is ace.

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