From “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene to “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger.
This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
- Share you post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
THANKS FOR PLAYING!
This month we start with “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene!
This month (March 4, 2022), the chain begins with The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. One summary I found says that, “The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.” This looks like a novella, and if I had had the time, I might have taken a break in my reading to try it, since it does sound interesting, despite one summary that makes it sound like it is more about losing one’s faith than about a love that turns to hate.
I have a feeling that I might not be the only one to link this first book to Jean Rhys’ prequel to Jane Eyre, “Wide Sargasso Sea” because it too is all about love and hate and obsession. There’s also a bit of insanity in both these books, and they are both tragic novellas. I read this for the #CCDare for February, which was entitled “Love is in the Air” but… yeah… I think that was a bit of a mistake. Not a whole lot of love here without a bit of a stretch. Still, it is considered a modern classic, and I liked the idea of a book about a woman who is such a minor character in another novel.
Well, you can’t get more minor than a character who you know must exist, but hardly ever gets more than a tiny mention in the original story. That’s why my next link is to “Lear Wife” by J.R. Thorp! In this book, Thorp tells the story of the woman who was the wife of King Lear – from the Shakespeare play by that same name. Yes, we know she’s there in the background of the play, otherwise King Lear wouldn’t have had three daughters to mess with. Here too, the novel is a tragedy and there’s no small amount of mental trouble (and I’m not talking about Lear going crazy at the end of the play).
From a forgotten mother and queen, why not leave some of insanity aside and go to a forgotten sister? For this link, I’m going with “Adele” by Nicola Cassidy. This is a biographical, historical fiction novel about Fred Astaire’s sister. Yes, we’ve all heard of Fred, and some of us know that his first dance partner was his sister, but by the time Fred was making it big in Hollywood, Adele was already out of the picture. Interestingly enough, according to this book (and many factual resources), initially she was the one noticed for her dancing talent, and Fred was the one who followed in her (sorry for the pun) footsteps, to eventually eclipse her!
Another woman who was talented, but was overshadowed by the fame of a relative was Fanny Osborne Stevenson – the wife of Robert Lewis Stevenson. So that’s why I’m linking to “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” by Nancy Horan. Here too, this is the story of the forgotten woman, and it is quite a sweeping saga, considering how far they traveled in the hopes of trying to get back her husband’s health, which was never very good in the first place. I liked this novel very much, but I wondered if there wasn’t too much in this book about her husband, in addition to a good deal about Fanny.
We can go straight from one Stevenson to another, so my next link is to the first book I read by D. E. Stevenson, who was a cousin of Robert Louis. I’m referring to the absolutely adorable novel “The Fair Miss Fortune” which, although originally written in 1939, it wasn’t actually published until 2011! This very sweet rom-com of a novel was rejected by Stevenson’s publisher, so she left it in a drawer. I’m so glad that it was found and published, because it really brightened me up while reading it.
Now, if you’ve read my review of the above novel, you’ll know that the story revolves around identical twins. So for my last link, I’m going with another set of identical twins, meaning the novel “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger. While there’s nothing romantic or comedic in this book, it still is a very compelling read, which is something of a ghost story. I especially liked it because it takes place near what is considered to be the haunted Highgate Cemetery in London, where many famous people are buried. Unfortunately, the author of the our starting novel isn’t among them (although he lived about an hour’s drive away from there).