Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tiger in the Tiger Pit to Big Little Lies

Six Degrees of Separation is the brainchild of Kate from Books Are My Favourite and My Best. Each month there is a different starter book and through six books, with what can be, on my part, extremely tenuous links,  you see which book you end up at.

Having missed July’s because I forgot, we move swiftly to August.

In typical style I have not read the starter book, The Tiger in the Tiger Pit by Jeanette Turner Hospital. In it, a tyranical father and his forgiving wife await the return of their adult children, and the issues they bring with them.

Obviously I can’t miss the opportunity to use this a stepping stone to one of the best books ever written, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. Apparently the first book I was obsessed with, this is a charming and timeless tale of Sophie and her mum who have an unexpected visitor one day.

Another Sophie and a completely different problem to be faced in Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. Stingo meets Nathan and Sophie in 1947 in Brooklyn. Eventually he comes to find out Sophie’s secret, and the choice she had to make in the pre-war concentration camps of Poland. It won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1980.

Another winner of the National Book Award for Fiction was Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward. 13 year old JoJo is struggling to understand what it means to be a man. His mother is struggling to put her children before her own needs, and that of her drug use. When she sets off with them on a road trip to the gaol holding his father, JoJo encounters the ghost of a dead inmate who has something to teach JoJo about families, legacies and love. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The winner that year was Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. After years of raising her siblings after the death of their mother, Isma is finally free to follow her dreams. But the worries she has for her sister Aneeka and brother Parvaiz follow her. Then she meets Eamonn and the fates of their families become entwined.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng sees Mia arrive at the placid suburb of Shaker Heights. Soon Elena Richardsons children are drawn to Mia and her daughter and Mia’s disregard for the rules threatens to upend the community. And then a custody battle begins. And Mia and Elena are on opposite sides.

Another single mother with a secret is to be found within the pages of  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Jane makes friends with forceful Madeline and kind Celeste. Then a playground incident escalates until no one can tell the truth any more.

So there we have it, from family ties to secrets and lies in six wobbly steps. Have you read any of these? Where would your steps take you?


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