Six Degrees of Separation – from The Arsonist to Tin Man

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 Arsonist by Chloe Hooper. It’s a fascinating account of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. One of the themes Hooper explores is remorse.

Remorse is the topic of Kate Rossmanith’s interesting memoir-research hybrid, Small Wrongs.

Rossmanith is an ethnographer, as is the character of Vita in Ceridwen Dovey’s brilliant novel, In The Garden of the Fugitives.

In The Garden of the Fugitives is set in Pompeii and the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Having visited Pompeii and Naples earlier this year, I was astounded by the fact that Naples is sitting in/on a volcano. This line in Fugitives captures it –

Not once did it occur to me that it might erupt while I was living in its shadow, though it was overdue for an explosion. Everybody said this was what lit the locals from within, gave them their manic energy.

Naples provides the link to My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

I couldn’t get stuck into the Ferrante series initially, and eventually listened to them as audiobooks. Some books are better as audios – Magda Szubanski’s memoir Reckoning was a fantastic audio choice because it is read by Magda. (Side note: Reckoning links back to Small Wrongs – both Magda and Kate’s fathers had significant roles in the War that they were reluctant to talk about).

Reckoning made me laugh and cry, as did John Boyne’s novel, The Heart’s Invisible Furies.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is an epic and covers all sorts of themes and events, one of which is the AIDS epidemic in the eighties. This is also visited in Tin Man by Sarah Winman, which is a gentle, different kind of love story.

This month, my chain came to me in an instant, one book leading seamlessly to the next. Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (April 6, 2019), we’ll begin with Ali Smith’s award-winning novel, How to be Both.

62 responses

  1. Pingback: 6 Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist | Treefall Writing

    • My book group has thought about doing an audio book but we never have (partly because of the logistics – not all of us use Amazon). Could be interesting though!

  2. Hi Kate this is great fun.My links are Firestarter by Stephen, King, The Library Book by Susan Orlean, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, White Earth by Andrew McGahan, Surrender by Sonya Harnett, Ash Road by Ivan Southall and The Tree of Man by Patrick White,

  3. Back now an ready to catch up. Enjoyed your links Kate. I haven’t read any of them, but at least I’ve heard of several of them. I most want to read Dovey.

    Oh and I do like audiobooks read by authors (if the author can read.) One of my all-time favourites is Roald Dahl reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s one of my all-time favourites.

    • I went in with no expectations about the Dovey and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

      I’ve listened to quite a few memoirs on audio read by the author (Rob Lowe, Bruce Springsteen, Matt Haig and Magda stand out) but there seems to be fewer novels read by the author (I guess you can’t be good at everything!). That said, Richard Flannagan reading Narrow Road was breathtakingly good.

  4. This month I found it a bit hard to get started on my chain – but once I’d decided on the first link it was easy! I haven’t read any of your links but am very interested in In The Garden of the Fugitives. I’ve been to Naples, Pompeii and Vesuvius too. Robert Harris’s book Pompeii gives such a vivid impression of how terrible an eruption is.

    • I realise choosing an Australian book that hasn’t even been published in some countries was a bit tricky!

      I recently had my first visit to Pompeii and Naples and I loved it (will publish a post about my holiday soon).

  5. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist to The Nest | Never Not Reading

  6. I think it’s so interesting that you included an ethnographer because earlier this month for a different discussion I was talking about an author for the exact same reason. And it’s not all that common of a thing, especially in fiction, so what are the odds of it coming up so frequently? Great chain, and thanks for hosting!

  7. Pingback: Six degrees of separation: From Hooper to Hooper | Words And Peace

    • Don’t let me put you off he Ferrante series – other trusted readers loved it. If you do read it, I suggest you just get stuck into one after the other – I did the first three in quick succession but still haven’t read the last one and fear I have lost momentum now.

  8. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation- from The Arsonist to The Light Between Worlds – Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

  9. I love the direction you took this. I didn’t know much about The Arsonist and so went with the obvious. Remorse was a great direction to go with it! You have me The Heart’s Invisible Furies. It sounds amazing. I hope you have a wonderful week (and month!). Thank you for hosting!

  10. Just realised that it’s March and that I missed the first Saturday….and I’ve even read the starting book this time too!
    I’ll think about it during the day and see if I can produce a late entry 🙂

  11. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation (7) – The Cozy Pages

  12. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: from The Arsonist to Shrinking Violets – What I Think About When I Think About Reading

  13. Like you, I didn’t like My Brilliant Friend, so much so that I haven’t bothered with any of her other books.

    Unlike you, I struggled to get started on this month’s chain, hence the late submission. There’s a psychology thread running through mine. It gets cheerier towards the end, so don’t let the Moors Murderers put you off!

    https://thinkaboutreading.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/six-degrees-of-separation-from-the-arsonist-to-shrinking-violets/

    Of to read everyone elses’ now.

  14. Pingback: 6° Degrees of Separation: From Fire to Family Secrets to Murder | The Broken Spine

  15. An excellent (and seamless) chain! I can’t wait to read The Heart’s Invisible Furies; I’ve only heard exceptional things. Like you, I’ve had trouble getting into My Brilliant Friend so far. Perhaps I would have better luck with the audiobook too.

  16. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: How to be Both to Bel Canto | Never Not Reading

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