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Because I didn’t manage to do the LAST #6Degrees chain, I was determined to do this one. I even bought the book but didn’t get to read it. So when I saw Kate at BAMFAB had posted, I went into a spin. And this is what I’ve come up with (and have realised that I’ve been doing it wrong in any number of ways. The obvious thing is I’ve been linking to only 5 books from the starter book, instead of 6. So there’s that. Then my linking is dodgy at best. But that’s okay, it seems. There are no real rules, and Kate even transposed Leo di Cap for Matt Damon in one of her links. So my suss effort is sure to be fine.

Here we go. How do we get from Revolutionary Road to The World According to Garp? Easy.


The starter book, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.

I bought this book in order to be ready to roll once 6Degrees time came around again. Like most else of all things reading challenge this year (remember India?), I failed. But I did see the movie, and although it was a while ago, I remember I didn’t much care for it. I found it surprising that a movie with Kate AND Leo could be so grey*.

“Grey” is also the word I’d choose to describe how I imagine the film of Ian McEwan’s Nutshell would be. I don’t know why, specifically. Probably because the narrator is a full-term foetus, I’m not sure how they’d film that, but it was a very good read, an excellent read. I enjoyed it even though I did have to suspend my disbelief in quite a stretchy way.

Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work, however, did NOT require any stretching of credibility for me. While my own experience of being mother to a young baby/toddler was nauseatingly loved-up, I do remember someone in my mother’s group saying that they’d felt like throwing their screaming baby against a wall. She didn’t. Luckily most of us don’t cross that line.

Talking about lines, Helen Garner’s Everywhere I Look is as brilliant as they say – quelle surprise – and I didn’t want it to end, but it did much too soon. One chapter (about her friendship with Tim Winton) was even more fascinating than the others because of how much intimate information she released in a very short space of time, which seemed to me a bit over the line. I’m guessing she got his permission, and while compared to other expose type writing it was super mild, still I wonder what Tim thinks.

Remember that book Tim? From the seventies (or was it eighties) and everyone for a short while was going nuts for it. I think ‘they’ made a movie of it, did it have Simon Birchall in it? (I am asking all the questions without going to google. Let me check, back soon … … OK I was way out, but it was a movie with Mel Gibson. And it was written by Colleen McCullough, and published 1974. And not Simon Birchall, Simon Burke. Wrong wrong wrong.)

Mel Gibson was also in a movie based on a book, and it was a good one. The Year of Living Dangerously, written by Christopher Koch in 1978. What made this movie notable was the casting of Linda Hunt in a male role, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. I remember seeing the movie in 1983, and while knowing she was a woman playing a man’s role, it wasn’t a big deal. As it shouldn’t be.

The idea of transgressive characterisations in movies isn’t a new one but I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of novels that have either trans characters (not that the Linda Hunt character was trans at all. She was playing a cisgender man) and it took me that long but it was obvious all along. John Irving’s character, the former quarterback Robert Muldoon who transitions to Roberta, in The World According to Garp, is maybe the first fictional character I read that encapsulated the emotions of someone whose identity did not line up with their sexual organs. Roberta is super matter-of-fact about it which is pretty awesome. I do wonder about Irving’s psychology, though, with his typical motifs recurring over and over – hasn’t he written it all out of his system yet? Somewhere on the internet there used to be a fantastic rubric laying all those motifs out. HAH found it.




* Sorry Kate. We seem to disagree on this.