Book covers: The Anniversary by Stephenie Bishop; Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller; Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman; The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese; Hit Me by Lawrence Block; The Husbands by Holly Gramazio; The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

6 Degrees of Separation

It’s time for another adventure in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. We are given a book to start with, and from there we free associate six books.

This month we begin with a novel longlisted for the 2024 Stella Prize – The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop.

Description from Amazon:

Novelist J.B. Blackwood is on a cruise with her husband, Patrick, to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Her former professor, Patrick is much older than J.B.. But when they met, he seemed somehow ageless, as all new gods appear in the eyes of those who worship them. He is a film director. A cult figure. But now his success is starting to wane and J.B. is on the cusp of winning a major literary prize. Her art has been forever overseen by him, now it may overshadow his.

For days they sail in the sun. They lie about drinking, reading, sleeping, having sex. There is nothing but dark water all around them.

Then a storm hits and Patrick falls off the ship. J.B. is left alone, as the search for what happened to Patrick – and the truth about their marriage – begins.

Since I haven’t read this novel (although it does sound intriguing), I’ll start with thematic similarities. (Quotations in the following book descriptions are from Goodreads.)

Ingrid Coleman, the elusive protagonist of Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller, married her much older college professor when their extracurricular fling resulted in pregnancy.

Filmmaker Erin and her investment banker husband Mark spend their honeymoon on the tropical island of Bora Bora, where, much like J.B. Blackwood and Patrick, “they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other.” While scuba diving, the newlyweds discover Something in the Water that forces them to examine their moral compatibility in the novel by Catherine Steadman.

I am currently listening to the audiobook version of The Covenant of Water, written and narrated by Abraham Verghese.

Since the audiobook of The Covenant of Water lasts for 31 hours and 16 minutes, I imagine it will be some time before I get to my next, most recently purchased audiobook, Hit Me by Lawrence Block.

My most recently purchased print book is the newly released The Husbands by Holly Gramazio. The plot is, shall we say, a bit out there: The unmarried Lauren returns home late, and slightly tipsy, after a girls’ night out and finds a strange man, Michael, in her apartment. She quickly discerns that Michael is her husband and that the apartment is similar to, but not exactly like, it was before. Then, “Michael goes to the attic to change a lightbulb and abruptly disappears. In his place, a new man emerges, and a new, slightly altered life re-forms around her.” After the same process occurs a few more times, Logical Lauren realizes “that her attic is creating an infinite supply of husbands.”

As crazy as Lauren’s situation sounds, it immediately reminded me of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. When Nora Seed despairs over the way her life is going, she ends up at the midnight library, lined with seemingly infinite shelves that contain books, each featuring a different possible story of her life. 

Which life will Nora choose, and which husband will Lauren settle down with?

Fellow 6 Degrees participants might be interested in this news story:

Scientists identify ‘degrees of Kevin Bacon’ gene

© 2024 by Mary Daniels Brown

7 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation”

  1. An interesting and well thought out chain as usual, so it’s a relief that there’s not anything that shrieks ‘Add me to your TBR’ this time. I’m having to be VERY choosy.

  2. Super fun connections. I also listened to The Covenant of Water, though I sped up the listening speed so my listening time was 29 hours, or some obscene amount of time. And I loved every minute.

  3. I would like to listen to Covenant of Water but I don’t get much listening time at the moment so it would probably take me 6 months to get through!

    Fun chain!

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