Six Degrees of Separation – from Romeo & Juliet to The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos


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

Are you over Shakespearean celebrations yet? Sorry if you are because we begin this month’s #6Degrees chain with one of his most well-known plays, Romeo and Juliet.

Like many, I studied Romeo and Juliet at school. I also studied a modern version of the age-old story, Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard.

Across the Barricades is a teen love story set during a tumultuous political time in one city – the Troubles in Belfast. Similar is Red Love by Maxim Leo – it’s a story about love, set in Berlin before the Wall came down.

From Red Love and the Berlin of decades ago, I hop to a contemporary story set in the same city – A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones.

A Guide to Berlin made the Stella Prize 2016 longlist, as did The Women’s Pages by Debra Adelaide. Coincidentally, both books used literature as the central theme – Jones used the work of  Vladimir Nabokov and The Women’s Pages tells the story of a woman and her experience reading Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights was featured on last week’s episode of the ABC’s The Book Club, as was Dominic Smith’s The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, which happens to be my book group’s next read.

From my high school literature studies, to Belfast and Berlin, and back again to literature – I wonder where other chains will lead?

Next month (July 2nd, 2016) the chain will begin with Salman Rushdie’s prize winning novel, Midnight’s Children*.

*as picked by Jenny. Any suggestions for starter books are appreciated.

11 responses

  1. Some of my star-crossed lovers are separated by unusual barriers. In ‘The Rose of Singapore’ (by Peter Neville), an English airman’s love for Chinese Rose is afflicted by cultural and other conflicts. That leads me to love in another Asian setting in ‘The Japanese Wife’ (in the short-story collection of the same name by Kunal Basu), in which an Indian gent somehow marries his Japanese penpal, beginning twenty years of marriage during which they never meet! Also not meeting for twenty years are Jean and Manon in ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ (Nina George), but not for the reason Jean assumes; discovering the truth, it’s too late. In ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ (Audrey Niffenegger), Henry and Claire are often divided by uncontrollable time travel, whereas in ‘The Human Factor’ (Graham Greene) Maurice and Sarah have their marriage mucked about by the spy world in which he works. The last seven words of Human Factor form the most chilling final clause of any novel I’ve read.

    • Well I very curious about The Human Factor – whenever anyone mentions “best closing line” (or opening line, for that matter), I’m sucked in. I’ve had similar reading experiences with The Reunion by Fred Uhlman and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, although the last lines weren’t chilling as such, simply memorable.

      Thanks for joining in!

    • Oddly, I had thought about my chain up to the Adelaide book and then stalled – every link from Wuthering Heights seemed too obvious… And then I watched the Book Club and the answer was right there in front of me 🙂

  2. Flowers in the Attic could be a fun starting book…

    I am currently working on my chain. I have the first link complete (Romeo and Juliet to a book called Warm Bodies), I will think about the rest on my commute home.

  3. Pingback: Romeo and Juliet // Six Degrees of Separation

Leave a Reply

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