Six Degrees of Separation: The Beauty Myth


Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps.

Click on the titles to go to my reviews.  Our starting book this month is the feminist classic:

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

Wolf’s  bestselling classic that examines the relationship between beauty and female identity was published in 1991. I’ve not read it, (nor want to if I’m absolutely honest – whatever its merits, and I am sure they are many, it’s not my kind of book).  Although she looks widely at women’s changing roles and how the beauty myth affects them – there is one distinct area of the beauty industry that I shall use as my link – Models, and that will lead me to:

Comes the Night by Hollis Hampton-Jones

This novel from 2011 is a dark tale of twins – American, in Paris. (Did you like what I did there). Ben Ho and Meade are rich and feckless. Meade becomes a model, and finds herself in a bleak and nasty world. I remember being utterly gripped by this book. My link is Twins, and my next choice is thus:

Mad by Chloe Esposito

Broke, Alvina joins her more successful twin sister at the villa where she lives in Sicily with her gorgeous husband Ambrogio and her child. Once there, Beth asks Alvina to swap places for a couple of hours… that’s when things start to go really wrong and Alvina is left playing by ear – good thing she’s a sociopath then!  Hugely entertaining, it’s the first of a planned trilogy.  However, my link shall be through the location of Sicily:

Auntie Poldi & the Fruit of the Lord by Mario Giordano

This is the second Auntie Poldi crime novel and she is one of the most fun characters I’ve encountered in a long time. A retired German widow who retires to the land of her late ex-husband  – Sicily where she plans to die with a sea view, Poldi gets stuck in to life in her Sicilian village, causing mayhem when she takes up as an amateur sleuth. But she is no Miss Marple, she’s more like an older Agatha Raisin but ten times more fun. I recommend you start with the first one Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (reviewed here).  My link is via another amateur sleuth leading to:

The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler

One of Ambler’s finest espionage novels, and an ideal choice to start with. Published in 1939, The Mask of Dimitrios is a classic fish out of water tale, in which a mild-mannered crime novelist gets out of his depth when delving into the affairs of notorious criminal Dimitrios, thinking it would be good research for his novels.  The action travels all around Eastern Europe, and that is my link to:

Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson

This novel of speculative fiction set in a Balkanised Europe – very post-Brexit!  Rudi, an Estonian chef working in Krakow is recruited to become a courier for a resistance network that works across Europe, specialising in getting through the many borders now the EU has broken up. A literary spy story that is also a science fiction thriller – I’m delighted that there are two more novels in the sequence for me to read. So my final link is via near future spec fiction to a very different world:

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

This world is drought-ridden California – the state is gradually being reclaimed by the desert. Ray and Luz had intended to stay by the sea, but when they get landed with a baby girl to look after, they opt to head east. This book’s not perfect, it’s quite overwritten in parts, but Watkins’s luminous descriptions of the desert landscape and the heat coming from it are glorious, yet deadly. so I enjoyed this very hippyish post-disaster novel.

So my six degrees this month have taken me from women on the catwalk in Paris with twins to Sicily and amateur sleuts there and in Eastern Europe ending in a near future California.

Where will yours take you?

15 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: The Beauty Myth

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I stuck with it and ended up liking it for its ambition, it’s not perfect, but I’ll always want to find out how spec fiction ends!

  1. That’s an interesting chain. Mine is completely different! I’ve been wondering where to start with Eric Ambler, so I’ll think about reading The Mask of Dimitrios.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I think any of the Amblers from around this time would be a great starting point. Dimitrios is a justifiable classic. Off to have a look at your links now.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thanks Kate. Citrus is a frustrating book – but if you love spec fiction of this kind, worth a try! Good luck.

      • It’s not my usual genre but it kept popping up on Best of X lists (last year??) so thought it might represent the top tier of the genre!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thank you. Auntie Poldi is a marvelous creation. I do hope you like her too if you give her a go.

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