Six Degrees of Separation – from The French Lieutenant’s Woman to White Houses

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month we begin with The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. I haven’t read this book but I remember my mum reading it (in the seventies) and being engrossed.

I also remember her being engrossed in Sophie’s Choice by William Styron.

Sophie’s Choice is set post-WWII but much of the story is about what happened during the war. Similar is Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins.

There’s a reference in A God in Ruins to how history might have been different if Hitler had died at birth – “I think if only I could go back in time and shoot Hitler, or, better still, kill him at birth.” (p.278).

I was reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer at the same time as God in Ruins and oddly, there’s a similar reference to Hitler in that book – ‘Arthur says, “We can never kill Hitler.”‘ (p.248).

Less is the story of an author on a pilgrimage, as is John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries.

There’s a great scene in Avenue of Mysteries with an elephant and a circus tent – so Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is the obvious link.

The main character in Water for Elephants is adrift, and finds refuge in the circus, as did Lorena Hickok, whose story is told by Amy Bloom in White Houses.

Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (February 2, 2019), we’ll begin with Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

62 responses

    • I haven’t read it (had the audio in my queue but didn’t get to it in time!). I recall seeing the film version decades ago!

      I love books that remind you of holidays (because of place or what you were reading at the time) – I always have strong memories of what I was reading on holiday.

    • My comment on your blog post disappeared (but working on my phone at present so the problem will be my end). Anyway, the guts of it was – loved the Katy books as well; and have you read any Sarah Stonich? Her stories have a strong Northern Exposure feel.

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  5. So that question about what if Hitler had died at birth? That’s essentially what Atkinson’s novel Life After Life is about. She takes that idea, explores it with a third party, then has that third party go back in time and try to prevent WWII by killing Hitler before it starts. REALLY great book!

    Thanks as always for hosting! Enjoyed reading your chain!

    • I LOVED Life After Life – fascinating structure and concept. I read God in Ruins practically straight after finishing Life,
      – I never normally read the same author back-to-back.

      • Yes, God in Ruins follows the life of the baby brother, Teddy. There are overlaps with Life After Life so you get a few conclusions. God in Ruins could be read without having read life but I think it was enhanced by Life first.

  6. I read TFLW but I can remember practically nothing about it – I really should re-read it. Sophie’s Choice is in the TBR but I keep putting it off, it’s a bit of a chunkster. Maybe this will be the year! Great chain Kate 🙂

    • I haven’t read either TFLW or Sophie’s Choice – knowing how much the movie of SC made me cry, I wonder if I have the strength for the book – quite sure it will leave me in tatters.

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