Six degrees of separation: from “Postcards from the Edge” to…

First Saturday. Six Degrees of Separation Day. This meme is hosted by Kate at BooksAreMyFavouriteandBest and it involves drawing links from the book that Kate chooses – in this case, Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge – and nominating six other books that you mentally link with the starting book.

I don’t remember reading Postcards from the Edge, but I do know who Carrie Fisher the actress was. But another “Miss Fisher” who is far more familiar to me is Kerry Greenwood’s creation Miss Phryne Fisher. I’m not really into mystery novels, but I did read a Phyrne Fisher years ago. I had no idea how to pronounce her name then, but the television series has taken care of that. To be honest, I can’t remember which one I read, but let’s go with Murder on the Ballarat Train because that leads me to….

…Ballarat, and Clare Wright’s fantastic history of women in the goldfields in her Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. This book won the second-ever Stella Prize in 2014, highlighting that the Stella was for both fiction and non-fiction books. It is written in Clare’s trademark warm, bubbly voice but underpinned by serious academic research. It is based on the Eureka Stockade rebellion which took place on the Ballarat goldfields, which leads me to…

Another goldfield, but this time in New Zealand with Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Actually, when I look at my review, I didn’t seem to be particularly impressed with it, and rather disgrunted about its length even though it won the 2013 Booker Prize. As I remember it, much of the action took place on a boat, which leads me to….

Robert Drewe, who is drawn to writing about water. The True Colour of the Sea is a collection of short stories, several of which make reference to the sea. We’re taken to a Pacific Island and to Cuba, as well as more recognizable Australian oceans and beach-side settings. And as a good little Australian school child, I was well and truly drilled in the importance of Captain Cook, one of the greatest navigators of Empire which leads me to….

Mrs Cook: The Real and Imagined Life of the Captain’s Wife by Marele Day. As suggested by the title, this is not a straight biography, but nor is it pure fiction either. The book is organized around a fairly large collection of existing Cook artefacts which, from the the notes at the back of the book, are located in various museums, libraries, churches and parks across the world. She uses these real-life objects as the tethering posts to which she attaches her fictional narrative, complete with conversation and internal speech. I don’t seem to have been terribly impressed by this book either. But another book about the sea that I was impressed with is….

A very recent read, Kathryn Heyman’s Fury. You might think from the front cover and the opening chapter that it’s going to be about a woman clinging onto the boom of a fishing trawler in a howling storm, which is it. But it’s about far more than that. It’s about class, femaleness, sexuality, the power of story and the narratives we tell ourselves.

Thanks, Kate, for hosting this meme, even though I very rarely have read the book you start off with. September is Rachel Cusk’s Second Place, nominated for the 2021 Booker. I don’t like my chances of having read that one, either.

24 responses to “Six degrees of separation: from “Postcards from the Edge” to…

  1. #Snap! I referenced a book by Clare Wright too, though it was You Daughters of Freedom.

  2. I really like this chain. I haven’t read a single one, but they all appeal enough to land on my TBR list.

  3. This is such an interesting thread and made me realise (yet again…) how much I see everything from a British viewpoint. I didn’t even know there was a Heidelberg in Australia, so I’ve learned something already.

    The True Colour of the Sea and Forgotten Rebels of Eureka particularly appeal to me. I have to say I’ve avoided The Luminaries, probably because of all the hype about it, so I’m glad to see not everyone found it brilliant!

    I too haven’t read this month’s starter book, and I very much doubt I’ll read the next one, as I’ve tried Rachel Cusk before and her style is not for me – but isn’t it great that so many different thoughts and threads can emerge from the same title?

    • Ah yes, Heidelberg is alive and well. I’m the secretary of the Heidelberg Historical Society, and we often receive emails from people enquiring about a local castle! (There is no castle in Heidelberg, Victoria Australia !)

  4. Wow… I don’t know any of these books. Great chain!

  5. artandarchitecturemainly

    Thank you! Murder on the Ballarat Train is well worth reading because it combines
    1. important Australian history in an important Australian city
    2. the very well known Miss Phryne Fisher and
    3. a favourite murder theme, on a long distance train.

  6. Some very pretty, colour coordinated covers!

  7. I’ve never thought about woman and the Eureka rebellion. I am sure they were involved and supportive, if not on the front line.

  8. Mareli Thalwitzer

    Hi there Janine! First of all – your ink on Mr Linky takes the reader to your previous Six Degrees post (winky face). Thought you might want to change it!

    Very clever link with Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher! Loved that series. I wasn’t all that crazy about The Luminaries either. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve actually finished it…

    Have a wonderful August!

    Elza Reads

  9. Mareli Thalwitzer

    PS: I see you did fix it!

    • Did I??? I can still see the old one there. And when I tried to right-click in the hope that I could edit it, it just sent me to the incorrect link!

  10. Gosh, this meme always introduces me to so many books I’ve never heard of before. That’s part of the joy of it, along with the fiendish mental links that participants come up with.

  11. Interesting set of links. I gave up on The Luminaries although I know many readers loved it. Much preferred the TV adaptation.

  12. I always learn so much from those of you who are NOT from the United States. Thanks for expanding my knowledge!

  13. Well done! Another chain in which I had heard of none of the books. That always makes it more interesting.

  14. Speaking of Miss Phryne Fisher and Luminaries, I wonder if you’ve tried the TV series on both of them? They are on Netflix, and I really liked the versions. In some ways, they make the books more accessible/ appealing. Love this month’s chain, as always!

  15. What a fabulous chain! Loved how you linked to Ballarat.
    I had no idea there was a series of Luminaries. I will have to go looking for it!

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