6 Degrees of Separation: A Little Life

October 3, 2015 | No comments


6 Degrees of Separation (hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman) is my favourite book meme. The goal is to construct a chain with 6 other books, using any criteria you want, and see where you end up.

This month, the starting book is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It is about the long-term friendship of four classmates from a Massachusetts liberal arts college who come to New York to make their way.

One of the main elements in Out by Natsuo Kirino is the friendship that forms between four women who work at a factory in Tokyo. Their lives become intertwined after one of them kills her husband and enlists the others help to dispose of the body. It is a wonderful, but quite disturbing, story about what people are willing to do to change their circumstances and make their lives better.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is another example of the extreme measures people will go through to change their lives. As with Out, an unhappy marriage is at the center of the plot, although this time it is the husband who is accused of murdering his wife.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is often compared to Gone Girl. Both have characters of questionable sanity, and a plot filled with twists and turns where most things are not what they appear to be. The main character, Rachel, gets obsessed with the life of two strangers whose home she passes every morning on the commuter train to work. Both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train are recent psychological thrillers that have gotten a lot of attention. Gone Girl was made into a movie last year, and the movie adaption of The Girl on the Train will be released next year.

Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train is a classic psychological thriller that served as the inspiration or Alfred Hitchcock’s movie with the same name. The book is about two men – Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno – who meet on a train and decide to swap murder victims. Charles offers to kill Guy’s wife, if he in return kills Charles’s father.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a modern re-imagining of Strangers on a Train. This time it is set at an airport where strangers Ted Severson and Lily Kintner meet at the bar and start planning the demise of Ted’s wife Miranda.

Ted Tonks and Lily Potter are two of the supporting characters who make important appearances in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book of the Harry Potter series. (And although not mentioned in the last book, Mirandra Goshawk is the author of The Standard Book of Spells used at Hogwarts.)


This time, my chain took me from a book about four friends, via a series of disturbing psychological thrillers, to the final book in a series about three friends.

Visit Annabel and Emma to see their chains. Or make your own. Starting with A Little Life, where will you end up?


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