Six Degrees of Separation – from Murmur to Staying

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 2019 Wellcome Prize winner, Murmur by Will Eaves. Also on the Wellcome Prize shortlist was My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.

The Moshfegh has been in my TBR stack for ages but I haven’t picked it up since a friend, whose reading preferences closely align to mine, read it and loathed it. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll loathe it because this particular friend gave the thumbs down to Markus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay, which I loved.

Despite the title, the bridge in Bridge of Clay is only a small part of the story. Likewise, a bridge plays a role in Claire Fuller’s Bitter Orange.

Bitter Orange has a wonderful gothic feel, largely due to Fuller’s excellent descriptions of the crumbling English estate where the story is set. The tone reminded me of Chloe Hooper’s The Engagement – it’s Australian gothic, set at a farm homestead.

The main character in The Engagement is an architect. I have an architect’s memoir in my TBR stack – The Battle for Home by Marwa Al-Sabouni.

I was supposed to see Al-Sabouni at last year’s Melbourne Writers Festival but drat, I was unwell that day. I also missed Jessie Cole talking about her memoir, Staying.

I didn’t expect to end on such a glum note… Hopefully other chains will be a little more upbeat! Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (July 6, 2019), we’ll begin with the children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (thanks to Sue at Whispering Gums for this suggestion).

43 responses

  1. A really interesting chain as always Kate. I want to read the Moshfegh but it was so hyped I think I’ll leave it for a bit.

    Hope you’re fully recovered now, what a pain that it happened during MWF.

  2. Hi Kate, I have not read Murmur but I have read My Year of Rest and Relaxation. My links were from Murmur to Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov; Talking to My Country by Stan Grant; Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris; Silent Spring by Rachel Carson; Lanny by Max Porter, and the Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (a great read)

    • For me, Bitter Orange lacked something that was in her earlier books – it relied more on plot tricks than the other books, which were character-driven. Lots to admire but fel short of my (high) expectations.

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  8. I got it completely wrong – thought Murmur was about heart disease, but managed to correct it in time… Really looking forward to next month’s – it was one of my children’s favourite books and I still know it by heart from reading it every evening.

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