Six Degrees of Separation – from My Brilliant Friend to Swimming Home


It’s time for #6Degrees (and as the new-ish host, I’m asking you in the loveliest possible way to join in!).

We begin this month with the first book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, My Brilliant Friend. I’ve only just started reading it, but the story focuses on two young girls who remain friends until adulthood.

A story that also examines the changing relationship between two friends is Judy Blume’s first novel for adults, Summer Sisters.

Judy Blume dominated much of my reading as a tween and although it’s hard to pick a favourite, for the purposes of this exercise my next link is to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Another favourite as a tween was Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow. It’s an Australian classic and although intended for kids, is a magical story for all ages.

The plot in Playing Beatie Bow revolves around time travel, as it does in Evan Mandery’s unusual story, Q.

In Q, Mandery uses a nested narrative – stories within the story. Although I didn’t enjoy this device much in Q, I loved it in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Blind Assassin.

The Blind Assassin opens with this line –

“Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge”

Which immediately reminds me of the opening line in Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home

When Kitty Finch took her hand off the steering wheel and told him she loved him, he no longer knew if she was threatening him or having a conversation.”

Same, but different.

From an Italian village and summers at Martha’s Vineyard to time travel, intricate stories and wild car rides, all in six moves. I wonder where other chains will lead? Join in and link up!

Next month (April 2nd, 2016) the chain will begin with the John Irving classic, A Prayer for Owen Meany.

15 responses

  1. I love these posts but sadly I haven’t read My Brilliant Friend although I do have it as an audio book! Love your links and Are You There God? It’s me Margaret was a huge favourite of mine too!

    • The fact that you haven’t read the starting book can be reason for a link alone! I did one chain that was composed only of books that I hadn’t read (but had in my TBR stack) – some of the links were tenuous (eg. blue covers…). Anyway, there are no real rules, it’s a very forgiving and all-encompassing meme 🙂
      Hope you can join in next time (or this time of you’re suddenly thinking of a chain!).

  2. Life has been crazy lately – what am I saying, crazy busy seems to be our permanent state now! Oh well, I have good intentions to join in, I would like to join in, I’ve even written 2nd April down in my blogging book. Let’s see what happens next….

    Lovely to see this meme still going round even though I haven’t joined in since 2014. And to see you featuring some Aussie books 🙂

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