Six Degrees of Separation: The Poisonwood Bible

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation 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 where they exist.  Our starting book this month is the chunky literary bestseller:

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is a novel I’ve not felt the need to ever read. I had a copy with the pictured cover, but gave it to the charity shop. So I shall go straight to my first link which is Bible, which leads me to:

The Flood by David Maine

Reviewed here.  Maine’s debut is a wonderfully imaginative retelling of the bible story of Noah.  A delight from beginning to end, Noah, Mrs Noah, his sons and their wives all take their turns to tell the story we all know, but Maine gives Noah’s family a backstory while still being essentially true to the source material.  Flood is my link to the next book in my chain…

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

Reviewed here.  The novella is the story of a mother and her baby, set in a near future in which flooding is making parts of the UK uninhabitable. Told in short vignettes, the story is poetic in its simplicity and utterly gripping as the waters rise. In my experience, and I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels, this is the first disaster type novel where the world at large is portrayed in a largely positive way – there are no roaming gangs, petrol hoarders, new slavers etc. Just a government who got it wrong and it trying to sort it out underneath.  Very unusual.  My link is the story of a mother and child, which leads me to …

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Reviewed here.  This novel is a slowburn triumph. I wasn’t wowed by it at first, but as I thought about it in the days, weeks after reading, I realised how unusual and clever it was in its construction and all the references to Greek myth (esp the Medusa). Featuring a mother and daughter, the daughter takes the main stage this time. Although the main action takes place in Spain, a section of the novel is set in Greece, so I could have a double link to my next book, but the main link is to another Deborah

Songs of Blue and Gold by Deborah Lawrenson

Reviewed here. Set mostly in Corfu, Lawrenson’s novel is closely modelled on Lawrence Durrell and his multi-PoV Alexandria Quartet of novels. Melissa goes to Corfu to research the a writer who held court there in the late 1960s, whom her mother had an affair with. What she uncovers sends her reeling off back to France to the family holiday home in the Languedoc, where she finds out more. This is a novel of dysfunctional relationships and holiday homes … which leads me to

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge

Reviewed hereAnother Part of the Wood is the story of a holiday from hell. Two families meet up for a cheap holiday in Wales. They’ll be staying in huts in a forest encampment with no electricity. Joseph knows George, son of the owners who had invited him there. You just know it’s going to turn out badly. Mismatched couples stuck in a forest with nothing to do, neglected kids, not enough lanterns, no planned activities, only Monopoly and wine for amusement. It may be early Beryl, but her dark humour is deliciously in place. My final link is to another holiday that goes wrong in a different way…

All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills

Reviewed here. This is the dead-pan hilarious tale of a camper who stayed.  It’s the end of the holiday season and a chap who eventually plans to go to India on his motorbike, agrees to stay on to do some odd jobs at the campsite where he’d stayed. He doesn’t realise that it’s like the Hotel California – ‘You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!’  very Royston Vasey and wonderful.

So I’ve gone from South Africa via biblical lands to Spain, Greece and the UK, settling in the northwest. 

No zombies or undead for a change too!  Where will your trail take you?

12 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: The Poisonwood Bible

  1. A Life in Books says:

    Some great links here, Annabel. When I saw the covers I thought that water was your theme! I loved The End We Start From, beautifully written as befits a poet, and finished Hot Milk this week which I very much enjoyed.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I did deliberately pick books with blue-based covers once I’d seen my hidden theme! I shall have to re-read Hot Milk, because it has stayed with me in such a different way to other books – yet when I finished it I was a ambivalent at first.

  2. Kate W says:

    Terrific links. Like you, I was thinking about Hot Milk for a long tome after I finished it – in fact, I still think about it and it’s one I plan to reread (I reckon I missed half of the metaphors and fine detail on my first read).

  3. Brona says:

    Hot Milk had the same effect in me. I still think about it. Adding the Bainbridge to my TBR – I’m joining in a Wales readalong next March and looking for more choices.

  4. akagracie says:

    Your review in January prompted me to read The End We Start From. Although I normally avoid dystopian novels, this was so beautifully written that it has stuck with me. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      The End We Start From is a gorgeous little book. Hot Milk doesn’t give its riches straight away, but I did really get a lot from it eventually.

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