Six Degrees of Separation – from A Prayer for Owen Meany to Fates and Furies


It’s time for #6Degrees – join in! Link up! Get amongst it!

We begin this month with John Irving’s classic, A Prayer for Owen Meany. The story centres around a terrible accident involving two young boys. Likewise, the plot in Wiley Cash’s A Land More Kind Than Home, also focuses on the tragic consequences of an incident involving two boys.

A Land More Kind Than Home is classed as ‘Southern gothic’, not a genre I have read a lot of. But fellow blogger, Rory, loves it. And she also loves Richard Russo’s Pulizter Prize winner, Empire Falls.

Shamefully, I haven’t read Empire Falls (can’t believe Rory still counts me as a friend…), but that’s not stopping me linking it to John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River – both stories revolve around how a river impacts the lives of those living close by.

Last Night in Twisted River deals the reader an absolute ‘oh-my-god-I-never-saw-that-coming’ moment, as does Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau.

Hausfrau was my favourite book last year, alongside Hanya Yanagihara’s, A Little Life.

A Little Life was not only one of my favourites for 2015, it also topped the list for critics, as did Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, the end of my chain.

Next month (May 7th, 2016) the chain will begin with a book that topped international best-seller lists – Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

17 responses

  1. I read A Little Life and loved some of it, the bulk of it, but got tired of it by the end. I keep hearing good things about Fates and Furies too – do you plan to read it?

    And thank you thank you thank you, for picking Perfume for the next one – I adore this crazy little book sooooooo much. It may not guarantee a happier post from me next month, but it will be eclectic in an OTT kind of way 🙂

    • I certainly plan on reading Fates and Furies – have heard consistently good things – just need to get through my Stella reading first!
      I’ll look forward to your Perfume chain next month 🙂

  2. Dirty-rotten-cheat alert: I haven’t read Irving’s novel but want to have my first bash at Five Degrees.
    Another story revolving around two boys is Annabel Smith’s Whisky Charlie Foxtrot (“Whiskey & Charlie” in America). Now adult, a serious accident befalling one brother forces his identical twin to review their childhood, their uneasy relationship and how he lives his own life.
    The boys-in-strife theme is pursued in Shamini Flint’s The Undone Years, where she traces the fortunes of two young men in 1940s Malaya: Matthew, son of an English planter, and Rajan, son of an Indian plantation clerk. Star-crossed in their love for the same Chinese girl, things take a turn for the worse with the Japanese occupation of the region.
    Another Matthew in the occupied Malay archipelago – Borneo this time – features in Madeleine Thien’s Certainty, again with a love interest with a local girl. Inevitably, war curtails happiness. A present-day strand in the novel comprises the efforts of Matthew’s son-in-law to understand what happened to Matthew back when.
    The occupied archipelago, this time the Dutch East Indies, forms the back-drop for a man’s search into his father’s part-secret past in Adriaan Van Dis’s My Father’s War. The narrator is born in Holland, enduring both the taunts of locals for being an Indo (mixed race) and also his father’s cruelty and peculiar ways. The search leads him to the sparse remains of brutal concentration camps and to deeper understanding of his father.
    Switching to Indonesia in the late 1990s, we find sixteen-year-old Nick in Sophie Masson’s The Tiger. On holiday in Yogyakarta with his family, they become embroiled in a local mystery, apparently connected to what happened to his grandmother’s friend there back in the Sixties. What really happened then and indeed now remains unclear; as an old lady warns Nick, the truth is not always knowable.
    I recommend all these novels bar the last, at least for visitors to this site.

    • The joy of this meme is that having read the novel (or indeed any in your chain) is not a prerequisite! And very fitting that you kick off with Annabel’s novel given that she started this meme.

      Thanks for joining in 🙂

  3. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation // A Prayer For Owen Meany

  4. I’ve had Perfume, the story of a murderer on my TBR forever. I purchased the book probably a year ago, because I loved the film so much!! I hope you enjoy the read.

  5. Pingback: 6 Degrees of Separation: A Prayer for Owen Meany | Treefall Writing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.