Six Degrees of Separation: From Ethan Frome to The Island of Missing Trees #SixDegrees #6Degrees

It’s the last first Saturday of the month in 2021 so here we are with the final Six Degrees of Separation run for this year. Six Degrees is a fun meme hosted by Kate (BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest). She gives us all the same starting point and we choose six linked books to make a chain. It’s always great to see the different paths that participants take.

This month we start with the brilliant novella Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. This is a dark story about the life of Ethan Frome himself and the impact of those around him. It is claustrophobic, intense and highly recommended.

For my first link we have another dark novella which I finished just this week: The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark. This was described as a ‘metaphysical shocker’ when it was first published in 1970 and still has me puzzled days after finishing it. It appears at first to be about the rather strange Lise going on a ‘holiday of a lifetime’. To say any more would be to spoil things for the new reader.

I first learnt about The Driver’s Seat when listening to the altogether excellent Backlisted Podcast where Muriel Spark’s work is discussed in Episode 29. So for my second link I am choosing the main book from their latest Episode (151), Robin Hyde’s The Godwits Fly. This is a coming of age novel set in New Zealand and sounds like a beautiful read. (Side note – I love to hear each year about the arrival and departure of migrating Godwits in New Zealand from my lovely friend Mandy of Silkannthreades.)

From one wading bird to another for my third link. I have chosen Orison for a Curlew by the fabulous nature writer Horatio Clare. This is an exquisite and compelling homage to a beautiful bird sadly in decline. (Second side note – shout out also to Mary Colwell for her fantastic book Curlew Moon on the same subject.)

Orison is published by the magnificent small press Little Toller Books, who have in their range many fantastic titles. The one I have picked for my fourth link also has birds in common with the previous title. It is The Screaming Sky by Charles Foster. Who doesn’t love the sound of swifts racing around in the summer sky? In this beautiful book, Foster follows the migrating birds as they search for a perpetual summer.

Talking of skies, one of the books I am lining up to read as part of a year with Russian literature in 2022 is Three Apples Fell From The Sky by Narine Abgaryan (translated by Lisa Hayden). I have it on the highest authority (Elisabeth from ARussianAffair) that this is an excellent read, so I am looking forward to it.

Apples usually fall from a tree and not the sky. So where are all the trees? Might my sixth link, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shfak have the answers? I love Shafak’s writing and am expecting this to be a good read even if it gives no clues about falling apples

This month’s chain started off in rather murky waters but I am pleased it took a more uplifting turn for the most part.

Next month we kick off the new year with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This book opens on New Year’s Eve so it is the perfect way to begin 2022. See you then! 🙂

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Ethan Frome to The Island of Missing Trees #SixDegrees #6Degrees

  1. Another interesting literary thread, Liz. As Dave admires Swifts so much, I am going to buy him The Screaming Sky for one of his birthday presents. Thanks for the ‘heads-up’. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This really is my sort of list, so I’m surprised not to have read anything from it – yet! How have I not read any Horatio Clare? And Elif Shafak is always a great read, so like you, I’ll be looking out for The Island of Missing Trees. A lovely selection.

    Liked by 2 people

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