Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to The Gift of Rain

I have been rather quiet on the blogging front recently. But if there is one thing to put some oomph back in to those creative writing juices, it is the monthly Six Degrees meme, hosted by Kate over at BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest. For extra Six Degrees enjoyment, check out my playlist to link with this month’s titles over on my Leaping Tracks blog.

This month we start with The Dry by Jane Harper, which is about the seemingly random murder of a family during an Australian drought. I don’t read much crime fiction these days. But there are tons of positive reviews for this one, including by highly respected crime writers and fellow bloggers. Perhaps I should give it a go some time.

Meanwhile, turning to the first link in my chain, I see that The Dry won The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year in 2017. So thinking about other prize-winning books that year, I am going for the winner of the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, partly as a reminder to myself to read it because I see from my Amazon account that I bought this in August 2017. I love Barry’s writing and can’t believe I have skipped over this one.

Part of this story centres around the American Civil War which is of course very fertile ground for novel-picking. I’m going for Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain which I remember as a beautiful read.

The reference to mountains allows me to link to another book on my shelf which I really must get around to reading: Robert McFarlane’s Mountains of the Mind. I don’t suppose I will ever go mountaineering myself. But I love to read about the experiences of people immersed in nature and McFarlane’s book sounds fascinating.

It also reminds me how much I enjoyed reading Touching The Void by Joe Simpson. This came out over ten years ago but I can still vividly remember the captivating reading experience. This is a tale of mountaineering gone wrong. But at its core is an examination of the nature of friendship, which puts me in mind of the unlikely friendship between Theo and Boris in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I loved listening to this book in audio format and have not yet decided whether I want to see the film adaptation due for release this year.

For my final link this month, I’m taking as my inspiration the wonderful ‘trickling water’ sounds which goldfinches make in the trees outside our apartment. This leads me to The Gift of Rain by Tan Twain Eng. I came to this quietly wonderful book a few years ago after reading his multi-prize-winning book The Garden of Evening Mists.

And once again, the journey through the links on my chain this month has taken an amazing path. How might events in Kiewarra, Australia been different if they had benefitted from the gift of rain? I love this entirely accidental yet perfect link back to the start.

Next month, we will be starting with the winner of the 2019 Wellcome Prize, Murmur by Will Eaves – see you then! 🙂


44 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to The Gift of Rain

  1. Very nicely done, Liz. A friend gave me The Garden of Evening Mists because she loved it – always a mixed blessing in case you don’t but luckily I did. The Gift of rain had escaped my notice but it’s on my list now. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Finally! I’ve read a book on the list that you haven’t! Yay, me! I just read The Dry and I did like it but, then I like mysteries a lot in general. Always fun to watch you make connections!

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  3. Great chain! Days Without End isn’t my favourite Sebastian Barry novel, but his writing is always beautiful and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I loved The Garden of Evening Mists, so I should probably read The Gift of Rain too.

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  4. I love your “six degree” posts. I’ve just started listening to the Great Courses: Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative by Arnold Weinstein. Fascinating! It is helping me understand the power of our literature, past and present. This is a quote by Professor Weinstein: literature “is potent stuff, serving not only as transcription of history but also as a verbal Pandora’s box, capable of shedding light on those transaction which remain in the dark for many of us: love, death, fear, desire. We are talking about more than artful language, we are talking about the life of the past and the life of the world.”

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    1. I will probably watch it, but may try to read the book again before I do. Tartt’s writing is so visual – it will be interesting to see how it translates to the screen. 🙂

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  5. I thought of you when I used a playlist as a link in my own chain this month 🙂

    I loved The Goldfinch and didn’t know thee was a movie coming. I will see the movie but, as always when I’ve loved a book and a movie is produced, I keep my expectations low.

    I had wondered why The Secret History never made it to the screen (wouldn’t it make a great movie?) but apparently the project fell throw a couple of times and now Tartt won’t sell the movie rights!

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    1. I love your literary playlists – music is perfect when words are hard to find. And that’s so interesting about TSH. You are right that it would have made a super film.


      1. On another subject entirely, except it does relate to the way things connect up. I now have my daughter watching Elvenhome! 🙂 She agrees it is good for the soul.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve missed this meme! And this is such a great chain, Liz! How cleverly it links back to the start! I love Barry but have yet to read this one, and The Garden of Evening Mists has been in my head for so long – why are there some books that never quite make it to the top of the list! Off to see what tunes you’ve matched with your books now 🙂

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  7. I love mountaineering – in books as well as in real life – and Touching the Void is a favourite of mine. The Goldfinch on the other hand, I liked it, but was not completely bowled over.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Mountains of the Mind was a great read, I got so much out of that. Crissy has decided she wants to end her ilfe attempting Everest because that is the type of person I am attracted to, it seems!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love your header! The links between your book choices are fascinating, as ever and as usual I haven’t read any of the books or even heard of many of the authors!! However, I have been able to obtain a copy of the Goldfinch which is waiting patiently to be read and I intend reading Robert MacFarlane’s book one day as I love his writing.
    I hope you are well, LIz.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Clare! I’ll be interested to see what you think of The Goldfinch in due course. All well here in general – I hope it is the same for you and the family. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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