6 Degrees of Separation: From Wild Swans to Station Eleven

I’ve missed the last few 6 Degrees through sheer laziness, but I’m happy to be back with this month’s (even if I have only remembered to do it the day before). The feature is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best; she gives us a starter book and all we have to do is make six links to other books.

This month’s starter book is Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I definitely read this in the 90s but basically have no recollection of it, so I’m going with a bird link, from swans to kestrels, taking me to A Kestrel for a Knave (or Kes as we colloquially refer to it) by Barry Hines.

Kes is set in Yorkshire, where I live, which links me to Matt Haig’s The Possession of Mr Cave. Haig is better known now for his memoir about depression, Reasons to Stay Alive and the recent How to Stop Time, but the book I’ve chosen is from 2008 and focuses on a gradually unravelling father and his relationship with his teen daughter. As I recall, the family lives in York and the daughter at one point goes to Leeds for a gig at the Cockpit, which used to be my favourite live music venue before it was sadly closed a few years ago.

It’s this personal and geographical connection which tenuously takes me to my next link, which is Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo. While I have no personal connection with Lagos, a character in the novel chats to a girl on a plane who happens to be from Essex, my county of birth, although I was very distraught that my fictional compatriot describes herself as “an Essex lass,” which is something no girl from Essex would ever say. “Lass” is northern, obviously, and Essex is in the south. First world problems, indeed.

Lagos, obviously, is in Nigeria, which is the setting of my next link: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, with whom I am borderline obsessed. I finally read this a few months ago, having saved it so that I didn’t run out of Adichie.

Adichie’s novel centres on twin sisters, and another novel I love which features twins is The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie, in which one twin wreaks havoc and tragedy on his family with wider consequences.

Rushdie also features rock stars in the book, with Ormus and Vina and their rock megalith band playing a crucial role in the action, along with their dramatic and complex relationship. I really need to reread this book.

It’s the music element that brings me to my last link: another favourite, and one which I actually have got round to rereading recently, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, a group of musicians and actors traipse around the desolate USA.

If you’ve joined in with 6 Degrees, feel free to leave me a link and I’ll be sure to check out your connections.

4 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: From Wild Swans to Station Eleven

  1. Kate W says:

    Fantastic chain! I read Kes at school and because I’m already thinking about next month’s chain, had earmarked it for inclusion 🙂 (not because of Yorkshire or birds though!).

    I recently read Matt Haig’s memoir about depression and I was blown away – such a sensitive, thoughtful, funny and insightful look at something that is very hard to articulate. Highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

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