6 Degrees of Separation: Wild Swans


The 6 Degrees of Separation meme is a monthly meme hosted at booksaremyfavoriteandbest, that explores the ways in which a chosen book can be linked to six other books.

The September 2017 book is: Wild Swans by Jung Chang

My selections this month take me on a journey from China to the Hebrides, with stops in 1920’s and WWII era London; and feature family sagas, murders, and affairs. Three authors named Sarah also make an appearance. 



1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

This is another family saga set in China. I didn’t love this classic when I had to read it for a high school English class, but I need to give it another try one day.



2. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

A classic set in China (and England) that I did love, is Maugham’s The Painted Veil. This 1920’s novel features an unhappy marriage, colonialism, a cholera epidemic, and an affair. It is a quietly beautiful and tragic story with complicated characters.



3. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I recently read and loved The Paying Guests, another book set in 1920’s England. Like The Painted Veil, an affair is central to the plot of Sarah Waters’ brilliantly written and suspenseful novel. I can’t wait to read more of her work…



4. Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Luckily, I have two other Sarah Waters novels patiently waiting on my shelves. One of these, Night Watch is told in reverse chronological order and is set in WWII era London. I love books set in wartime London-especially during the Blitz-and I look forward to delving into Waters’ vivid prose once again.



5. Night Waking by Sarah Moss

A novel with a similar title by another talented Sarah, that is also on my TBR list, is Night Waking. Moss interweaves the stories of two women: one a modern day writer and mother struggling with sleep deprivation, the other a midwife living two-hundred years ago. In this bleak and isolated setting of the Scottish Hebrides, the past disrupts the present when a baby’s skeleton is discovered in the garden.



6. The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine 

And finally, another book set in the Hebrides by a third Sarah, that is also on my TBR shelf. The House Between Tides also centers around the discovery of human remains (Apparently there are a lot of bodies buried in this part of Scotland). This novel seems like an atmospheric read perfect for autumn.


Where did your #6degrees lead you this month?



7 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: Wild Swans

Add yours

  1. Terrific chain! Oddly, despite all the hype it received when it was first published, I only got around to reading The Paying Guests very recently as well. Although I thought the ending was weak (actually, simply not memorable), I enjoyed the book and will also be seeking more Waters.

    Your chain reminded me that I have never actually read The Painted Veil – a great gap given my love of books set in the 1920s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate! You’re right-the ending was very quiet and anticlimactic. It wasn’t the ending I expected after all the built up tension, but in some ways that makes it more interesting (although less memorable).

      I love reading books set in the twenties too. Hope you enjoy The Painted Veil if/when you pick it up!

      Liked by 1 person

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