I saw this meme on the Books are My Favourite and Best blog, and decided to give it a go. The idea is that books are linked to one another in some way and there are “six degrees” to their separation. This is taken from the idea by Frigyes Karinthy that everyone is separated from everyone else in this world by six links. Since my previous book review was for News of the World, I am deciding to start there.
Paulette Jiles’s News of the World is an understated adventure story of quiet power and beauty, involving the relationship between two people, and that brings to my mind the novel by Jack London – The Sea Wolf. I read this classic book translated to Russian when I was very young, but what I remember distinctly is the unparalleled sense of sea adventure. In this story, one young man is rescued by another ship captained by Wolf Larsen, a ruthless man, and our main character is forced to play by Captain’s rules if he wants to survive.
Talking about survival, the tale of Daniel Dafoe – Robinson Crusoe is a must-read lone-islander survival story. This book was actually loosely based on a real case of Alexander Selkirk who spent four years alone on the Juan Fernandez Islands after being marooned by his Captain. The Juan Fernandez Islands are situated off the coast of Chile, and one Chilean author who got international success is Isabel Allende. Her debut novel The House of the Spirits is a multi-generational story with a touch of magical realism that focuses on the life events of the Trueba family.
Isabel Allende shares her name with the main protagonist in the novel by Henry James – The Portrait of a Lady. This rich in characterisation novel is about Isabel Archer and her rocky journey to find a life-long partner. Since the novel has the word “portrait” in it, it brings to mind the best-seller by Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch, which revolves around the stolen portrait – well – picture/work of art – depicting one captured goldfinch. The Goldfinch may be too long, as well as dragging in the middle, but it is also everything that a novel should be, as it tells of Theo and his hectic upbringing amidst personal tragedies and losses.
Finally, it is worthy to note that The Goldfinch is in the stage of filming – the book is turning into a film by John Crowley, just like another book – The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This is a thriller story which pays indirect tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and reminds of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. In the forthcoming film by Joe Wright, Amy Adams will play Anna, a woman whose life takes an unexpected turn when she allegedly witnesses an act of violence happening next door.