6 Degrees of Separation: Notes on a Scandal to Caravan Like a Canary
Welcome back to 6 Degrees of Separation, where we all start with the same book and link it to six other titles in whatever curious way our mind chooses to make connections.
This month’s starting book, thanks as always to Kate from booksaremyfavouriteandbest, is What Was She Thinking [Notes on a Scandal] by Zoe Heller.
Apparently, this book was adapted into the film Notes on a Scandal, starring the fabulous Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. I haven’t read the book or seen the film, but I do know it was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2003, the year it was published.
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake was also shortlisted the same year. Atwood has such an uncanny, albeit terrifying, way of imagining the future that is a little closer to home than most of us would like.
She has previously said about one of her other famous titles, that “there’s nothing in the The Handmaid’s Tale that didn’t happen somewhere.”
Pandemic novels have been considered part of the dystopian fiction genre—until it became a world-wide reality over the past few years. Fire, Flood, Plague, edited by Sophie Cunningham was published in 2020 after Australia had endured fires, floods and the still-emerging pandemic. Fire, Flood, Plague is a collection of personal essays about these experiences.
Another collection of essays I have read recently is Women of a Certain Rage, edited by Liz Byrski. I had mixed thoughts about reading an anthology about anger and rage, but it surpassed my expectations with a varied and nuanced exploration of the theme, with the inclusion of some very moving personal experiences and reflections.
Liz Byrski is also the author of fiction, with a focus on fabulous older women as her main characters. Her most recent one is At the End of the Day, which revolves around Mim Squires and Mathias Vander who become friends while stranded together during a disrupted flight (also rather close to reality for anyone who has attempted travel in recent months, especially within Australia).
I’ve always loved immersing myself in the lives of fictional characters as a form of escape, and another title that allowed me to do that, while also dealing with some serious issues such as childhood trauma, is A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley. This story features a road trip when Tara’s dying mother demands her to drive their bright yellow caravan from one side of the state to the other.
This month, I began with a scandal in a story that is almost two decades old, traveled into the dystopian future, which has scarily morphed with our real-life present before finally escaping into some Australian fiction with a side of travel.
Over to You
Where will six degrees take you?
Head over to booksaremyfavouriteandbest to see where it led other bookish people.