Six Degrees of Separation – from Room to Wildflower

It’s time for #6Degrees and it’s a cinch to play – please join in!

This month’s chain begins with Emma Donoghue’s bestseller, Room. Room was a departure for Donoghue, whose work is predominantly historical fiction. I’ve just finished reading her most recent novel, The Wonder.

The Wonder is set in 1850, in rural Ireland, when the people had deep religious beliefs and many superstitions about faeries, luck, the weather and so on. The Good People by Hannah Kent follows similar themes.

You know when an author’s second book doesn’t even come close to the brilliance of their first? I’m afraid that was my experience with The Good People, as it was with Maggie Shipstead’s Astonish Me.

Astonish Me is about ballet. Dance is also used to drive the plot in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time.

I reckon one of the characters in Swing Time references Kylie Minogue. Likewise, in Teddy Wayne’s novel, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine there are lots of Justin Bieber hints.

The life of a child star is the main theme in Wayne’s book. The real-life child star that most intrigues me is Drew Barrymore, which is why I bought her autobiography, Wildflower (haven’t read it yet…!).

From hostages and Irish folklore to ballet, pop princesses and child stars – where will other chains lead?

Next month (May 6, 2017), the chain will begin with the book that rocketed Christos Tsiolkas to fame – The Slap.





30 responses

  1. We do expect a lot from second novels and I agree with your comments on Wonder and The Good People. I went from Room to The Spare Room by Helen Garner: then to Dying by Cory Taylor. Next Dye House, not a person dying but an industry. Back to dying and Helen Garner, but the unnecessary dying of children in the House of Grief. I then turned to Tim Winton’s novel Eerie, where people and the environement are dying. This all led me to Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. I have already forgotten (intentionally), next month’s starting point. I like to think on the day, the book is introduced.

  2. I’m afraid I had a similar reaction to The Good People – loved Burial Rites, but found the second book just didn’t compare. Oh well, we’ll just have to wait now for her third one…

  3. This is the first time I ever participated in this meme, because I just found out about it this week. What a lot of fun for a meme. My link is here

    And I like your post. I tried getting into The Good People and found it hard going, but it sounds as if I should try Burial Rites, which I haven’t read either, even though Hannah Kent is/was a local girl to me, who lived in Adelaide.

  4. I would read the Drew B book! (Also, Hannah Kent I think is living back in Adelaide!) Also, also: did not realise Emma Donoghue usually writes historical fiction. I love it when writers move all around – like someone else has mentioned, Hilary Mantel has done that a lot. So has Rose Tremain. And Ian McEwan (though not sure how successfully…) Will put my chain together in the next day or so.

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  6. I went to a talk on second novels this week – they’re definitely a mixed bag. Often someone’s poured everything into the first novel and flounders with the second, rather than builds on what they’ve learned to go from strength to strength. They gave us a list though, which showed there are plenty of wonderful second novels too!

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  8. I’m always relieved when my own meandering chain isn’t the only bizarre one. 🙂 I really need to check out The Wonder, although I’m fairly certain it’ll break my heart. Thanks, as always, for hosting!

  9. haha I love where your chain ends up going – so interesting, this really does prove how you can link seemingly disparate things! 🙂

    I really need to get to reading The Wonder and The Good People – I adored Hannah Kent’s debut and am intrigued to see more from her in the future.

    (My Six Degrees post)

  10. Jumping in with an idea for a starting book – Picnic at Hanging Rock. There’s a new bio about Lindsay out now that has me intrigued & thinking about PAHR again.

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