Monday, 5 February 2018
6 Degrees of Separation
Six Degrees of Separation, is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. This month start with Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2017. I have not read it. It is about Abraham Lincoln's son William who died at a young age, and deals with loss. "Bardo" seems to mean an intermediate space between life and rebirth.
That thought leads me to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It has a magical realism, and it seems to take place in a, not entirely, human world. It follows a family through a hundred years, a family with a supernatural aura around it. It is a real world, but still not. I imagine that Lincoln in the Bardo, could be something similar.
Staying on in a world that does not seem real, I go to Hunting Season by Andrea Camilleri. Also a family saga with a lot of supernatural happenings. A story bordering the magical world, but so skilfully woven into the real world, it is difficult to separate them.
The thread this months leads me to other worlds. Continuing this way I go for Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Series, on which the TV-series True Blood is based. I never liked vampire stories but after this one and the Twilight Series, I see things in another way. Sheer, easy entertainment.
Talking about vampires I can't leave out the classic of them all, Bram Stoker's Dracula. I read it some years ago for a book club and was not entirely happy about reading about vampires. However, just shows you should venture into new territories in your reading, because I really like it. It was, so many years after it was written, still an enjoyable book, and one of the first to visualise the eternal vampire.
Let's stay on here for another classic vampire story, Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla. I have just read one other book by him, Uncle Silas, which is also a gothic tale, although no vampires. In Carmilla, we hear the story from a young girl, living in the countryside of south eastern Europe, in an old castle of course, and how it came that she had a meeting with a vampire. Wonderful writing and descriptions by Le Fanu.
I end with another story that seems real, but has a super natural theme to it, The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel. He gives us three stories, connected in the end. They are funny, serious, magical and taking place in more than one world. Or are they?
That was my chain for February. Going from "Bardo" into various magical and/or supernatural worlds. When this theme is in the hands of talented writers, it is a pleasure to read. The magic of making a make belief world become real.