Six Degrees of Separation – from Perfume to The Paying Guests


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

We begin this month with a book that topped international best-seller lists – Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. I read Perfume many years ago – it was lent to me by a friend, who also gave me Neil Schaeffer’s The Marquis De Sade (clearly we were on an 18th-century French jaunt).

Bits of The Marquis De Sade made me physically sick. As did some of James Frey’s recollections in A Million Little Pieces.

After the release of A Million Little Pieces, Frey was accused of being a ‘literary fraud’, with many saying that his ‘memoir’ was more fiction than fact. It was a similar situation for Australian author, Helen Demidenko, who falsely claimed Ukrainian ancestry as part of the basis of her book, The Hand that Signed the Paper.

The Hand that Signed the Paper was about a Ukrainian family’s involvement with the Nazis during the Holocaust. It won the Miles Franklin award in 1994. Anna Funder’s novel, All That I Am, also won the Miles Franklin (in 2012) and also gives a different perspective on Nazi activity – it tells the story of four German-Jewish anti-Hitler activists forced to flee to London.

War stories told from the perspective of the ‘enemy’ always grab my interest and there are elements of this type of storytelling in the book that I’m currently reading – Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North made my (rigorously composed) list of Best Books of 2014 as decided by #ALLTHEREVIEWERS. Also on the list was The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, another book I’m planning to read this year.

So, my chain started in 18th-century France, had a brief stint in re-hab and then became completely dominated by WWII stories. I wonder where other chains will take us?

In honour of the recent 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, next month’s chain (June 4, 2016) will begin with Romeo and Juliet.

25 responses

    • I’m about three-quarters of the way through – it’s harrowing but completely absorbing. Have just finished the third part which was all set on the railway – horrific.

  1. Hi Kate, I’ve done my first 6 Degrees post! Figured I need to get some structure into my blogging otherwise it’ll fade away. I’ll try to do them all from now on.

  2. This is actually good fun to do! I’m still trying to find my way around these blogs so I hope I did mine correctly. It’s fascinating to see the chains people are coming up with.

    • The joy of this meme is that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – some of my previous links have been tenuous to say the least eg. “I read both of these books on holiday…”!

    • Just checked out your chain Debbie – a very clever first link – I didn’t even think of the translation as a starting point! Thanks for joining in.
      (And wondering if the two you’ve read on my chain are the two I haven’t read?? (those being The Hand That Signed and The Paying Guests).

  3. Pingback: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind // Six Degrees of Separation

  4. Pingback: 6 Degrees of Separation – Perfume: the Story of a Murderer | Treefall Writing

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