It’s time for Six Degrees of Separation again: a monthly post I now spend way too much time thinking about. It’s hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best; check out her post and next month’s starter book.
This month we’re starting with Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – a book I absolutely loved. Groff pulls off a right master stroke with the switch to Mathilde’s narrative halfway through; I spend the whole second half shouting “oh my GOD” and scaring my family. Lotto, the annoying husband in the book, is a failed actor turned playwright and general impresario. It’s this theatre link which leads me to my first link, which is Margaret Atwood’s modern retelling of The Tempest, Hag-Seed, in which a humiliated actor/director finds a new lease of life (and an outlet for vengeance) directing Shakespeare’s works in a prison.
Sticking with the prison theme for the next two links, I’m moving on to The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah, one of the best books I read last year. The main character, Memory, is an albino woman in a Harare prison, convicted of murdering the white man who, she believes, bought her from her parents. It’s a really outstanding book; if you haven’t read it, you should. Staying with prisons, my next link is a bit of a shift in tone: the graphic novel Bitch Planet, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro and Robert Wilson IV, in which “unruly” women are dispatched to a prison planet and forced to fight for the entertainment of those on Earth. It’s bonkers, but cool.
I’ve developed a real love of space-set literature, most notably in the case of the mind-blowingly wonderful Illuminae, a YA sci-fi novel by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman; it’s brilliantly and innovatively written, with transcripts, interviews, emails and reports instead of a traditional narrative. It’s really fast-paced and completley superb.
Illuminae also features a frighteningly powerful AI, AIDEN, who yields a little too much power over the ship. Also in possession of some scary technology is Ray Bradbury’s story, The Veldt, in which spoiled children enjoy their interactive playroom a little too much for their parents’ liking. I have recently acquired both massive volumes of Bradbury’s stories and have the lofty aim of reading one a day.
The Veldt‘s children are slightly too keen to get rid of their parents, and my last link takes me to another book about terrifying kids; Tiffany D. Jackson’s very recently released Allegedly focuses on Mary, a fifteen year old just released from prison for the murder of a baby six years ago. Jackson does a tremendous job of keeping the reader guessing as to just how disturbed Mary actually is.
So there are my six links; I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with this month. Have you read any of these books, or have I inspired you to do so? Please let me know in the comments so I can feel like my existence has been validated.