It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation Post! Here’s a recap of the rules:
This month, Annabel Smith and I are starting with Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which was announced in October as the 2014 Booker winner. We’ve chosen to spotlight it to celebrate an Australian (and a Tasmanian) winning the Booker, and to highlight Richard Flanagan’s incredible career. All of his 6 novels have garnered considerable critical acclaim, and his winning of the Booker was incredibly well-deserved. Congratulations Richard!
Here’s my chain:
The Narrow Road to the Deep North/Richard Flanagan
This book, winner of the 2014 Booker Prize, has garnered considerable critical acclaim. The Guardian called it ‘a masterpiece’; The Australian said it was ‘beyond comparison…An immense achievement’. It follows a survivor of the building of the Burma railway during the Second World War, which Flanagan’s father also helped to build.
From the 2014 Booker winner to the 2013 winner. This book is also an epic feat: I wrote about it in more detail in my Bestseller Breakdown post earlier this year. Although I could admire it’s strengths, the characters didn’t quite ring true for me.
Like The Luminaries, I didn’t connect with the characters of this book, despite being able to admire certain things about it, including the writing style and the magical realism elements. Midnight’s Children won not only the Booker Prize, but also the Best of the Bookers, a prize awarded to the best of all the Booker winners in 2000.
Nights At The Circus is another book with magical realism motifs. It follows the life of a circus worker and incorporates many otherworldly, fairy-tale type ideas. i’m not partial to this style of writing: I’m more into realistic explorations of the world we live in or the past, rather than supernatural ones.
White Noise/Don DeLillo
I studied both Nights At The Circus and White Noise on the same Postmodernism course at Edinburgh University. It was a very tough course, but I have many fond memories from it, including making up a “Postmodern Game” with a fellow student and great friend. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Nights At The Circus, I loved White Noise, and it remains one of my favourite books to this day.
Blonde/Joyce Carol Oates
I can’t think of exactly why these two books are linked together for me: other than the fact that both of them were studied during my time at (two different) universities, and that they are by two great contemporary American authors. I read Blonde while I was studying for my Masters, and was incredibly impressed by the writing style and the subject. It is a fictionalisation of the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Liza Klaussmann was a fellow student on my Masters course at Royal Holloway, and she was the student who chose Blonde as our selected reading. We each had to pick a book or author who had influenced our writing, and then the rest of the class had to read the novel and we’d discuss it. We also critiqued parts of each otehr’s novels on the course, and it’s quite surreal now that a few members of our group have been published to think of us all in that room, striving to be writers one day.
From the latest Booker winner to the novel of an old friend. Liza is American, and now that the Booker has opened up internationally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win it one day, so perhaps those two books will have more in common in the future! Let’s check in with Annabel Smith and see what she came up with!
What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.
Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 3rd January and we’ll be starting with a modern classic: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. See you soon folks!