Monday, 4 September 2017

Six Degrees of Separation

Another month and another chain. I am joining Books Are My Favourite And Best for another six degrees. This month the chain starts with Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I read it many years ago, and loved it. It is a family saga that spans three female generations in China.

I love family sagas so I go from here to The Empress of South America by Nigel Cawthorne. It is the story of a middle class Irish girl who went to Paris and ended up the wife of the emperor of Paraguay. It is a true story of how two, evil people made a whole country their private family business. Quite intriguing and chocking.

From royalty to royalty I go to Mrs Jordan's Profession, by Claire Tomalin. It is a biography about the Anglo-Irish actress, courtesan and mistress of the future King William IV of UK. They had ten illegitimate children together. Fascinating story about a fascinating woman far ahead of her time.

From royalty to a non-royal queen; the master of suspense, Agatha Christie. I happened to find her book Come Tell Me How You Live. It is not a detective story, but a memoir of her life with her archeological husband Max Mallowan and their life during digs in Iraq. Also a fascinating view of her life outside her suspense books.

Continuing with the family side I have to include one of the best books I have read. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.  It is about the young teenager Leo who is invited to spend the summer with his upper class school friend Marcus. He is drawn into a family conflict by acting messenger between Marcus' sister Marian and the farmer Ted. He is deeper and deeper drawn into their relationship of deceit and desire. One day e wakes up to make a shocking and premature revelation which ends in disaster.

Continuing with family business of a darker kind. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller. A real life murder case that was never solved. Miller takes us through the actual murders and the trial that followed. An insight into a family that, from the outside, seems a little bit strange to say the least.

When we are talking about families there is the great family saga of Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks. A fantastic story of a families rise and fall. Mann writes in an addicted way and you come so close to the characters that you really think you are there with them. Feeling their happiness and sadness. A really fantastic read.

That was my six degrees of separation and the main theme turned out to be family. Starting in China, continuing to Paraguay, then Ireland/England, on to Iraq, back to England and ending up in Germany at the turn of the last century.

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