6 Degrees of Separation: All the Light We Cannot See

November 21, 2015 | 2 comments


6 Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman where the goal is to construct a chain with 6 other books, using any criteria you want, and see where you end up. This is my favourite book meme and this month I’m doing a double feature. I already did a chain at the beginning of the month (starting with Wild Cards) but the official starting book this month is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

All the Light We Cannot See is one of my favourite books this year. It’s a historical fiction, set in France during WWII. Two of the many things I loved about this book are the beautiful cover with the city view, and how we get to see the city (first Paris and then Saint-Malo) through the mind of the blind Marie-Laure.

A city plays a very important role in the Detective Axel Hake series by Lars Bill Lundholm. The series consists of 4 books and each one is titled based a specific part of Stockholm, and focuses on a murder occurring in that part of the city. My favourite is Gamla Stan-morden (partly because Gamla Stan is my favourite part of Stockholm) in which Hake investigates the murder of the actor Peter Branting.

Lars Bill Lundholm also wrote the script for the tv show Skärgårdsdoktorn (“The Archipelago Doctor”), as well as the book Skärgårdsdoktorn based on the tv show. The tv show and book were about a doctor and his family, and the small community he serves in the Swedish archipelago. I never read the book because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the show (which was one of my favourites).

Another Swedish tv show that I followed religiously was Skilda världar (“Separate Worlds”), about two feuding families where the son from one family meets and falls in love with the daughter of the other family, only to find out that they are twins that were separated at birth. Like Skärgårdsdoktorn, the story was also published as a book called Mötet (“The Meeting”) by Tomas Blom.

My all-time favourite book about twins is I Miss You, I Miss You by Peter Pohl and Kinna Gieth. It is about the girl Tina, whose twin sister Cilla is killed in an accident. It’s an extremely emotional story, made even worse by the fact that it is based on Kinna’s life.

Alltid den där Anette! (“Always Anette!”) is another book by Peter Pohl in which the main character (Anette) loses her twin sister (as well as her big brother) and and her problems of returning to school where she is labeled as a “problem child” because of her issues moving on from the tragedy. There is actually another link between the two books. Kinna and her twin sister Jenny had read Alltid den där Anette! and talked about what they would do if one of them died, just a few weeks before Jenny died in a car accident. 14-year old Kinna then wrote a letter to Peter Pohl and that was the start of her book. Whereas I Miss You, I Miss You focuses on grief and hope, Alltid den där Anette! is often cited as a book that in a way criticizes the school system and how it deals with children with emotional baggage.

Another book that also criticizes the school system is Ondskan (“The Evil”) by Jan Guillou. It takes place at a prestigious boarding school where many serious events takes place behind close doors. It’s an extremely disturbing story, but remains one of my favourite books.


This time, my chain took me from one of my recent favourite reads via some of my favourite Swedish tv shows to one of what I consider best Swedish books ever.

Visit Annabel to see her chain. Or make your own. Starting with All the Light We Cannot See, where will you end up?


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