Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is …

Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik

Not a book I’ve read, but I have seen the film, so I do know the rules and won’t talk about it any more! Except to introduce my link, which is the singular of card suits – so ‘Club’ leads to ‘Spade’ and…

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

One of the absolute classics of noir from 1930 in which Sam Spade must outwit a femme fatale and a proper villain all on the hunt for the elusive bird of the title. I prefer the prose style of Chandler and Cain, but loved the twisty plot and superb characters of Hammett.

My link will be through Malta to…

Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes

This lovely, lovely novel tells the story of Nina, a Maltese woman, whose rather traditional family disowned her when she got pregnant as a student in England. Marrying her baby’s father Matt didn’t help either. Some years on, she is drawn back to Malta, to see her family and ageing parents. Nina is depressed and grief-stricken and needs to lay her ghosts to rest, literally. Highly recommended.

My link is through honey which features in a key recipe in…

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk

Starting in 1625, food, love, and the English Civil War, entwined with a hint of mythology, a mad Puritan clergyman and the central biblical allegory of Eden, mixed together make the recipe for a rich narrative feast. Susan Sandall, a healer/midwife and her son are driven from their village, Susan being accused of witchcraft. They take refuge in Buccla’s wood, and as time goes by Susan tells John about the secret Feast handed down through the generations. Winter comes, and Susan doesn’t survive; John does, together with his learned memory of the Feast. He is taken on as a kitchen boy at Buckland Manor, ancestral seat of the Fremantles, changing his surname to Saturnall. The cook, Master Scovell recognises something in John, and under his tutelage, John rises through the ranks from the lowliest scullery boy to become a cook capable of the finest cuisine of the age.

Norfolk’s writing about 17thC food is evocative, but my link shall be through Civil War to…

Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne

Which is set against the backdrop of civil war in Sri Lanka in the 1980s.
Brixton Beach tells the story of Alice, who has a Singhalese mother and Tamil father; she is just nine when the war starts. It’s increasingly hard for a mixed family to live in Colombo. Father, Stanley, has applied for passports for them so they can move to England. He’ll go first, and find a job and a house, Sita and Alice will follow. Her beloved artist grandfather Bee wishes they wouldn’t go, but has hopes of a better life for them, as they’ve already suffered. Sita lost her second baby due to the drunken negligence of a doctor who wouldn’t treat a Tamil. A deeply affecting and gripping read that contrasts Colombo and London with an artist’s eye.

Brixton is, of course, in South London – so I’m linking to…

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureshi

Which is set in suburban South London too. A book I really must re-read, having devoured it when it was first published in 1990, and then enjoyed the TV series a few years later. Set in the 1970s, Karim, a mixed-race teenager, longs to escape suburbia for London which although geographically close feels so far away… The soundtrack to the TV series was by David Bowie, so he is my final link to…

Money by Martin Amis

Which is one of David Bowie’s favourite 100 books (see my Bowie Book Club page here). From the 1970s, we move to 1980s and we meet John Self, a successful yet controversial director of raunchy TV commercials, is making the move into movies. Half American, yet of humble origins in the UK, he has managed to get somewhere without the benefit of a university education. He’s enjoying going back to New York to get a film to be called Good Money into development – he’s a transatlantic man. Needless to say it all goes wrong – big time.

You’ll either love or hate this black comedy – I loved it! It has some dazzling writing in it and the early 1980s are portrayed in all their glorious awfulness. I had been ready to hate it, but ended up feeling sorry for the protagonist which shows how good Amis’s writing is.

So this month, my choices have taken me from LA to SF to Malta via Sri Lanka back to the heartland of England before heading south to suburban London and then a transatlantic drama. Where will your six degrees take you?

21 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club

  1. Marina Sofia says:

    Ooooh, getting very devious and tricky with your links – I love that! You also make me curious abot Money, which is a novel I’ve avoided thus far.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I really enjoy thinking of some devious links! Money is such an alpha male book, but Amis’s writing is wonderful in it and I ended up loving it.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I think I read Chandler first, which is maybe why I prefer his style – but Hammett’s plotting.

  2. Liz says:

    Just the kind of 6 degrees chain I love – the more ingenious links, the better – bravo! I love the sound of all the books on your list – plenty to add to the TBR list, thank you! 🙂

  3. Calmgrove says:

    As you’ve issued the challenge, Annabel, here in brief is my list (with nominal links in brackets):

    Fight Club — (club = association) Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven — (mystery) Erskine Childers’ The Riddle of the Sands — (Psammead = sand-fairy) E Nesbit’s Five Children and It — (children) Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children — Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight.

    I won’t link to reviews because although I’ve read them all (apart from the Pratchett) not all have been discussed blogwise. However, this was a happy trip down memory lane, thanks!

    • Calmgrove says:

      Oh, of course, six degrees! The Pratchett is about witches and magic, so I’ll go with Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. As the main characters are part of a secret group of magic-users that takes us back to Firght Club… 😁

  4. Kay says:

    Love your chain! And this one includes a detective mystery as well – though it’s not one I’ve read in print – saw the movie.

  5. Literary Feline says:

    You traveled far and wide here, and such creative connections! Brixton Beach is new to me, but sounds really good. I’ll have to look for that one.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thanks. Brixton Beach is my favourite of Roma Tearne’s books that I’ve read. She paints too, and the Sri Lanka sections have a painterly feel to them in particular.

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