Six Degrees of Separation – from The Slap to Me and You

It’s time for #6Degrees and truly, it’s easy to play (no rules, just bookish fun) – join in!

This month we begin with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. What can I say about this book except that if you want to start a heated debate at a dinner party, mention it!

Everything goes to crap among friends at a backyard barbecue in The Slap, as it does in Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty.

Actually, I haven’t read Truly, Madly, Guilty but it was a ‘change of pace’ book group pick… which I decided to give a miss… Anyway, thanks to a typo in the book group email, it was referred to as Truly, Madly, Quilty (and will remain that way in my mind). Quilting makes me think of Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men.

Looking back on my review of The Summer Without Men, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of quilting – curious because it’s strong in my memory. A glance through other reviews on Goodreads suggest ‘needlework’ but that’s all. I googled ‘quilting novels’ and it’s a whole genre – who knew?! I didn’t get far down the search results because ultimately it doesn’t matter (the joy of a meme without rules).

One of the things I also remember about The Summer Without Men is reference to five elderly women known as ‘the five swans’. Swans are the link to Chloe Hooper’s The Engagement (I won’t say why because it’s a spoiler).

The main character in The Engagement is an architect. One of the most interesting novels I’ve read about architecture in the last few years is The Submission by Amy Waldman. The story focuses on the design of a 9/11 monument.

In Kirsten Tranter’s novel, The Legacy, a woman goes missing on the day of 9/11 – a day she wasn’t even supposed to be in New York.  Likewise, in Me and You by Niccolo Ammaniti, the main character, Lorenzo, is not where he is supposed to be.

From backyard barbecue chaos and quilting to swans, architects and missing people – where will others chains lead?

Next month (June 3, 2017), the chain will begin with Steve Martin’s Shopgirl (thanks to Annabel at AnnaBookBel for the suggestion).









54 responses

    • I recall that the general consensus among those in my book group that did read it was the same (and we’d done The Slap years ago). I’ve read a few books by Moriarty and although I understand their appeal, they’re really not for me.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  1. We both chose Liane Moriarty books as our direct link to The Slap, but for different reasons … I wonder what the premise Truly, Madly, Quilty would have been? I haven’t read either or them, and nor have I read Me and You, although my Italian teacher recommended it as one to try reading in Italian … think I need a few more lessons first!

    • I can’t even imagine attempting a novel in another language – very impressed that it’s even in the realm of possibility for you! If it makes you feel more inclined to tackle it, it was quite short and written simply (the translation, anyway!).

    • I haven’t read Shopgirl either and so far, no starting point has come to me (I usually think of my first link immediately).

      Thinking that I will START a chain with Austen soon (then I’m sure you will have read the book!).

    • I had a look around on Goodreads and there were so many quilting themed novels – not sure why I found it so surprising because in real life, I imagine sewing circles could be a hot bed for gossip!

      • They are certainly hotbeds for chat. My quilting group has turned into a discussion group with the occasional sewing though there’s not a lot of gossip. Lots of talk about politics, the environment, galleries and travel, and, hmm, health!

  2. I like how you ended Slap with You and Me, a great connection. I always have fun doing this exercise. I was at the Quilting show in Melbourne last week, and it was like being in a beautiful art gallery.

    • As someone who can’t sew a stitch, I’m always amazed by quilting (haven’t been to a whole shoe devoted to quilting but always take the time at the Royal Melbourne Show to look at the entries).

  3. Interesting…we both started our chain with Truly, Madly, Guilty. I did read the book though, and enjoyed it. But of course, I like pretty much anything Liane Moriarty puts out. I love doing these each month. Thanks!

    • I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with Hustvedt – I LOVED her novel What I Loved (really memorable); Summer without Men had some terrific moments but she did a lot of intellectual showing-off, which could annoy; her most recent novel The Blazing World, was a DNF for me – over the top.

    • I had planned to read Shopgirl before the next chain however I just looked at my uni timetable and realised that I won’t be doing much free reading between now and then 🙁 Thank goodness for a no-rules-meme 😉

  4. I really must read Siri Hustvedt (esp as my fave author is her husband Paul Auster), but haven’t quite managed to get to her yet. As for The Slap – I’m not bothered! Love the quilty link! Here’s mine

    • Start with Hustvedt’s What I Loved – it’s brilliant (and as an ‘art novel’, it’s one of the best. In fact, the only other art-novel that’s matched it for me is The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose). Related: I didn’t know Auster is her husband! Have you read his latest?

  5. You nearly tempted me. I reviewed Truly, Madly, Guilty and didn’t like it, and using ‘Quilty’ I could have gone on to Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway which has a sub-thread about English and American quilts. Where I’d go from there I have no idea (Del Shannon’s Run Run Runaway maybe). I really must read The Slap.

    • And you’ve almost completed a chain Bill! 😀

      Yes, The Slap is a must-read. It’s really interesting to read a book that nearly everyone hates because although the common response is “All of the characters are horrible”, I think it only made the book more compelling.

      • I totally agree with Kate. And anyhow, many are flawed rather than truly horrible with the exception of a couple (such as, if I remember the name correctly, Hector. Maybe I’m too forgiving. I try to lead a moral, decent life, but I try also to understand when people slip and make a mistake.

  6. I usually enjoy Moriarty for her light, easy storytelling, but Truly, Madly, Guilty didn’t work for me at all, I think because I couldn’t get what I knew about The Slap out of my head. Like Annabel I really must read Siri Hustvedt sooner rather than later.

    I’ve read Tranter’s Miles Franklin longlisted book, Hold, but not The Legacy. I may have to check it out – thanks.

    I went from an Aussie BBQ to lighthouses, the Scottish Highlands and back into the Australian bush circa 1900 (I bet you can’t guess what that one will be?)

  7. I’ve been reading this monthly meme with great pleasure for a year or so now, but this is the first time I am taking part. I’ve done a bit of a world tour, as you will see.

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  9. A sub genre called quiliting novels – you have to be to kidding surely??? What on earth can writers find to say about this once they’ve exhausted the descriptions of thread, stitches and patterns????

      • Or social history/family dramas. I read Whitney Otto’s debut novel, How to make an American quilt and enjoyed it. Not high end literature but a nicely written story. I also read one of Jenny Chiaverini’s many quilt novels – for an online reading group – and found it just too stereotypical and cliched for my liking. That group mostly chose decent books but every now and then something like this slipped through. A nice novel for people who want nice, friendly stories, but it wasn’t for me.

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