Six Degrees of Separation: Time Shelter

First Saturday of the month, 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 chosen.

This month our starting book is…

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov

The winner of this year’s International Booker Award is on my reading pile for the summer. Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel, it is the story of an enterprising man who opens a unique ‘clinic for the past’ to help Alzheimers sufferers. Each floor recreates a particular decade in detail. It sounds wonderful, I hope I get to it sooner rather than later. My first link will be through the word time in the title to…

Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge

One of my favourite Bainbridges from 1977, this is a comic farce of epic proportions about a dinner party hosted for colleagues at Edward’s mistress’ house. It begins as a ghastly comedy of manners, but ends with a siege when a band of bank robbers burst into the house and hold Edward, Binny and their guests hostage. Brilliantly funny social satire done as only Beryl can. (A good choice for a first Bainbridge if you’d like to join in my Reading Beryl week coming in November) Another siege can be found in…

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz

Dedicated to Alan Rickman, the fourth novel to be translated brilliantly by Rachel Ward in Buchholz’s Chastity Riley series is a cracker. Turns out that if you’re going to have a siege in a hotel’s penthouse bar, you shouldn’t have chosen the night a bunch of off-duty cops were having birthday drinks for a retired colleague. Prosecutor Riley is a breath of fresh air and I adore this series. Another hotel penthouse appears in…

The Drowned World by JG Ballard

One of the first great cli-fi novels, Ballard’s second book from 1962 is set in an increasingly submerged London, where his protagonist Kerans bides his time in the penthouse of the Ritz. Dr Robert Kerans is a biologist, part of a scientific survey team working on exploring the flora and fauna of the last cities of a mostly submerged world. Temperatures are soaring, people are going mad with the foetid heat, and Kerans is told by the Colonel to pack up and move out, but they hadn’t reckoned on the white-suited Strangman’s appearance. Marvellous stuff! Flooded London leads me to a biblical flood in…

The Flood by David Maine

This is Noah/Noe and his family’s story and it is a delight from start to finish. From his vision to building the ark, to collecting the animals, to the flood and then looking after everyone on board, Maine has great fun with the biblical source material, but it isn’t a satire; it’s respectful yet added to it in a way that was supportive. It is whimsical and funny – never before has a family had so many pets to care for.  It also has many moving moments especially as Noe’s faith is tested, and his wife (never named) is always there to ground him. The biblical flood leads to a character named Flood in…

The Man in the Corduroy Suit by James Wolff

Great title eh! This recently published novel is the most refreshing spy novel I’ve read since I discovered Mick Herron’s Slow Horses/Jackson Lamb series. Leonard Flood, he of the corduroy suit, is a strange man who works for MI5, where he is known as a fearsome interrogator. He gets recruited into a select band of agents who are ‘Gatekeepers’ – who ferret out the moles and double agents. He is tasked with investigating Willa Karlsson, a humble vetting agent, who is in hospital with suspected nerve agent poisoning. The novel develops through immaculate tradecraft and ferreting about by Flood who finds himself under pressure… Flood is a wonderful creation and I loved this book. The only other mention of corduroy in a book reviewed on my blog is in…

The Bothy by Trevor Mark Thomas

The movie pitch for this gangster novel would have to be ‘Tarantino in Yorkshire’. When Tom’s girlfriend is killed in a car accident, he finds he has a price on his head, and has to get out of London. He ends up at corduroy trouser wearing Frank’s pub on the Lancs border with Yorkshire, (Frank had moved the signs to make it seem as if it were in Yorkshire). Tom has to muck in with Frank’s gang, living in a caravan in the yard, and there’s rivalry between Frank and Wayne to be sorted. It’s violent, menacing, somewhat claustrophobic and very funny. Thomas absolutely nails the sticky floor of the pub, the muddy yard and its ever-present smell of sewage, not forgetting the temperamental boiler, and lack of mobile signal. Fabulous!

This month, my six degrees have gone forward and back through London from Bulgaria, Germany, biblical lands, and ending in Lancs/Yorks! Where will your six degrees take you?

17 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Time Shelter

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      It was super, and I’ve now got the other two books in Wolff’s series – each written as a standalone – which is refreshingly novel in itself.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I hope you noticed that the pub in that was actually in Lancs, and aren’t too offended!

  1. A Life in Books says:

    I love the way you worked in Reading Beryl! Very smartly done. Not a crime reader, although the Buchholz sounds more of a caper, but it’s hard to resist a book dedicated to Alan Rickman.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Getting Beryl in was my first move! That particular Buchholz is her tribute to Die Hard – but very different – it does have a crime underneath though.

  2. Elle says:

    Very interested by The Man in the Corduroy Suit–any spy novels on the level of Mick Herron are worth seeking out!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Which reminds me to include at least one Herron in my 20 books – I’m getting behind on them. (The most amazing thing about the Herron books is that they feel so read, yet he always asserts that he makes everything up.). Still the Woolf was rather different to other recent spy reads, and will undoubtedly feature in my year end best of I think.

      • Elle says:

        I know, I’ve lost track of the Herron now! Am definitely a few books behind and haven’t even seen the new TV series, more’s the pity.

        • AnnaBookBel says:

          The TV series is brilliant. I’ve just rewatched the first one and it’s better than first tme around. A rewatch of the second soon… Apple TV doesn’t have a huge output, but it’s such high quality compared to Netflix. (You’d love Silo too!)

  3. WordsAndPeace says:

    I ove how you introduce your connections.
    I haven’t read The Drowned World, added it now to my TBR, thanks!
    Another amazing cli-fi is Flood, by Stephen Baxter, really good!

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