Six Degrees of Separation: A Christmas Carol

Better late than never – here’s my go this month.  Hosted by Kate at BooksaremyfavouriteandbestSix Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Our starting book this month is …

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dickens’ classic tale of redemption at Christmas. I could have gone straight to a zombie parody of it by Adam Roberts –  I am Scrooge which was great fun, but I shall stay with its original inspiration for my link via Carols to:

The Puffin Song Book compiled by Leslie Woodgate 

which has many Christmas Carols in its contents.  (see here for an appreciation). I shall stay with Leslie for my next link to a fab novella by:

Bodies of Water by V. H. Leslie

which I reviewed for Shiny here.  This is a superb dual timeline Gothically inspired ghostly novella set in a hospital that gave water cures by the Thames in 1871, and the present day when it has been converted into apartments.  However, my link this time, will be not by the Thames but the author known by their initials.

Running Wild by J. G. Ballard

A superb novella (reviewed here) which features one of Ballard’s favourite themes – a closed community.  The adult residents, guards, staff of an exclusive housing estate are found murdered, their children gone – presumed abducted. What’s going on?  You’ll be surprised!   Another sort of closed community can be found in:

In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

This novel, longlisted for the Booker this year (reviewed here) is set in a London housing estate and was just so fresh – telling the story of first and second generation immigrants from Ireland and the Windrush to Asian and Muslims.  Some of the best rendering into dialogue of how young men speak. It was challenging and gripping and I loved this book. My link is via the immigrant experience to:

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Another immigrant is the main character of Evaristo’s wonderfully comic and touching novel (reviewed here) – the sharp-suited seventy-four year old Barrington Jedidiah Walker, who emigrated from Antigua in the 1960s and has lived in Hackney ever since, with his wife Carmel and daughters. My final link will be to another London district:

N-W by Zadie Smith

Set in Willesden, Smith’s fourth novel (reviewed here) is another novel featuring a diverse cast of characters, multi-ethnic, different classes, contrasting between housing estates and gentrifying areas. It’s another novel that’s driven by some snappy dialogue, and despite some distracting experimental passages, was very enjoyable.

So, with a brief trip out to Ballard’s suburban nightmare in a Berkshire commuter village, I’ve circled all around London this time.

Where would your six degrees take you?



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