It’s the first Saturday of the month which means it’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate of Books are my Favourite and Best. The idea is that Kate chooses a book to use as a starting point and then we have to link it to six other books of our choice to form a chain. A book doesn’t have to be connected to all of the others on the list – only to the one next to it in the chain.
This month we are beginning with The Dry by Jane Harper. I haven’t read that book, but I know that a lot of bloggers whose opinions I trust have enjoyed it so I would like to give it a try. The story is set in a fictional Australian community during a drought. The opposite of a drought is a flood, so for my first link I have chosen Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh. This was the third book – and probably my favourite – in Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy, set in India, China and at sea during the period of the First Opium War.
Opium provides the link to the next book in my chain, which is The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens. In the opening scene of the book, we see Edwin Drood’s uncle, the choirmaster John Jasper, visiting a London opium den run by a mysterious woman known as Princess Puffer.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was the novel Dickens was working on when he died and was unfortunately left unfinished. I enjoyed it and do recommend reading it, but the fact that it ends before the mystery is solved is as frustrating as you would expect! Another classic novel that was unfinished at the time of the author’s death is Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, although I found the ending of that one much more satisfying.
I want to move the chain away from classic Victorian novels now, so I have selected a very different type of book for my next link, but one which also has ‘Wives’ in the title: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin. The novel describes a polygamous marriage through the stories of Nigerian businessman Baba Segi and his four wives, who each take their turn as narrator.
I’ve read a few other books set in Nigeria, the most memorable being Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a beautiful, emotional novel which follows the lives of several characters before and during the Nigerian-Biafran War of 1967-1970.
To bring my chain to an end, I have chosen another book with a colour in the title, not yellow this time but red. That book is The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne. Although Milne is best known for the Winnie the Pooh stories, he also wrote this detective novel, published in 1922, which I thought was great fun to read!
And that is my chain for this month. My links included droughts and floods, opium dens, unfinished novels, wives, Nigeria and colours!
In June we’ll be starting with Murmur by Will Eaves, another book I haven’t read.