Six Degrees of Separation: Our Wives Under the Sea

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is:

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

A book that is on my TBR piles to read and I’m looking forward to it. I do know that it involves a trip in a deep sea bathysphere – a kind of submarine, one of which also appears in …

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

I think this was Tidhar’s adult debut, which I read when it was first published. I hadn’t read much steampunk then, and this entertaining novel in which a terrorist is planting bombs in books in Victorian London ruled by the Lizard Kings. Young Orphan’s adventure in revenge for the Bookman blowing up his friend Lucy takes him deep into the subterranean realms of the capital – where he encounters Jules Verne’s Nautilus – the iconic submarine of Captain Nemo. I shall stay with steampunk for my next link…

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by GW Dahlquist

Bantam reputedly paid début novelist Dahlquist an advance of $2,000,000 for the first two instalments in this series – a steampunk adventure trilogy. Although the first was well received, apparently they lost shedloads of money on the deal. Penguin, the books’ publisher in the UK, also published the first volume with a big fanfare.

Initially it was only available on subscription, in ten limited edition weekly instalments – the covers of which got darker in hue as the story progressed. The last one arrived just in time for Christmas together with a special sheet of wrapping paper. A standard hardback and paperback followed, but no prizes for guessing that I discovered it in time to get the instalments! And I loved this trilogy – they are proper adventures, racy and fun, with great protagonists and excellent villains.

Another book that was originally published in instalments is…

Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima

This book is a beguiling novella following the story of a young mother and her young daughter after she has separated from her husband. It was originally published during the late 1970s in instalments in a Japanese literary magazine, mirroring the passage of the year in the text. The edition I read was one of the Penguin Classics expanding list of new translations in an upmarket paperback format. Another is…

The Pitards by Georges Simenon

Sadly my review of this novella was one of the Shiny ‘lost posts’ so I can’t link you to it.

In the mid thirties, Georges Simenon took a break from his Maigret novels and started writing standalone romans durs. Les Pitards was one of the early ones. The subject will be familiar to anyone who has read the Maigret novel The Grand Banks Cafe (see my review of that here) – the consequences of having a woman on board a ship – but this novel has a rather different emphasis. Another such tale is…

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware’s second novel takes the classic trope of the locked room novel as exemplified by Agatha Christie et al and gives it a good shake-up for the 21st Century.

The action takes place on the first voyage of a ten cabin luxury cruise yacht owned by a multi-millionaire businessman. The press launch trip is up the Norwegian coast to see the Northern Lights – the ship is called the Aurora Borealis. The passengers are an interesting mix. We have journalists from posh travel magazines, a renowned photographer, potential clients and investors, and the crew outnumber the passengers. Travel journalist Laura needs to make an impression. She knocks on her neighbour’s cabin to borrow some mascara – and that is the last she sees of the woman in cabin 10. My final link is via the author’s surname to…

The Faculty of Indifference by Guy Ware

From the blurb for this novel I was sort of expecting a thriller about terrorism, with a jaded office worker caught up in stopping a terrorist plot at its heart. On the most simplistic level, this novel is that book. Something shocking happens about 70 pages in for instance that is the stuff of nightmares with onward ramifications. But the novel is far more complex than that, referencing Beckett’s Endgame and the title is from Romanian nihilist philosopher Cioran. So it’s really a non-thriller, but I did find this novel rather thrilling! But not in that way. Instead, I was thrilled to be made to think.

This month my six degrees have either been on land or sea. Where will yours take you?

16 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Our Wives Under the Sea

  1. margaret21 says:

    An interesting chain. I could be wrong, but several of these seem light on any feel-good-factor, which I’m sorely in need of just now. Maybe The Glass Books is the place to start?

  2. residentjudge says:

    I hadn’t heard of a single one of these books! I like the sound of ‘The Faculty of Indifference’.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      It was totally unexpected and strange, but very thought-provoking. I’ve not acquired Ware’s previous novel.

  3. Davida Chazan says:

    Fascinating. Of course, during the 19th century, many books were published in installments, and not just the penny dreadfuls, but books like Dickens’ novels.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I treasure my set of the instalments. The final one came with a sheet of special wrapping paper.

  4. Helen says:

    That’s an interesting chain. I enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 and need to read more by Ruth Ware! I’ve also read a few of Simenon’s other romans durs books, but not the one you mention.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I’ve not managed to read any more by her yet. I’ve read several other of Simenon’s romans durs, notably Black Snow which was superb.

  5. Marg says:

    I love the covers for the Dahlquist and the changing shades. Don’t think I would read them but still.

    Fun chain.

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