6 Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘Postcards from the Edge’ to ‘Night Boat to Tangier’

It’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time to participate in Six Degrees of Separation (check out Kate’s blog to find out the “rules” and how to participate).

This month the starting book is a bestselling work of autobiographical fiction…

‘Postcards from the Edge’ by Carrie Fisher (1987)

I read this one back in the day, having been a bit of a Fisher fan (the only doll I ever owned as a girl was a Princess Leia doll, that’s how much of a fan I was — LOL). I can’t honestly remember much about the book, other than it was a tale about a woman recovering from a drug overdose and was written with a wicked sense of humour. My link is a bit tenuous, but the title reminds me of…

‘Alone in Berlin’ by Hans Fallada (1947)

This big, baggy German novel is about a pair of Nazi resisters who risk their lives by dropping postcards all over Berlin as a form of silent protest during the Second World War. The postcards, which have anti-Hitler messages scrawled upon them, are left in public buildings across the city. Another story set in Berlin is…

‘The Wall Jumper’ by Peter Schneider (1982)

This novel, which reads like reportage, is about life in the divided city before the wall came down and what risks people took to cross from one side to the other. Walls of a different kind feature in…

‘The Tortilla Curtain’ by T.C. Boyle (1997)

Set in California, this is about the illegal citizens who cross the border and live in abject poverty, while the middle-class US citizens with a fortress mentality lock themselves away in gated communities, almost too afraid to live. Another book about illegal immigrants is…

‘The Death of Murat Idrissi’ by Tommy Wieringa (2019)

Two Dutch women holidaying in Morocco agree to smuggle a man across the border into Europe with devastating consequences in this compelling novella. Another novella set in Morocco is…

‘Whitefly’ by Abdelilah Hamdouchi (2016)

In this Arabic crime story a detective investigates the death of three young men, washed up on a local beach, who are thought to be illegal immigrants who have fallen overboard en route to Spain. This brings to mind…

‘Night Boat to Tangier’ by Kevin Barry (2019)

In this brilliant black comedy, two underworld criminals from Ireland are at the Spanish port of Algeciras waiting for someone to get off the night boat from Tangier. As they sit there, passing the time, they recall the ups and downs they have weathered over the years as drug dealers with operations in Cork and Spain. It’s menacing but it’s also very funny.

So that’s this month’s #6Degrees: from a black comedy about drug addiction to a black comedy about drug dealers via tales about walls, both real and metaphorical, and illegal immigration.

Have you read any of these books? 

Please note, you can see all my other Six Degrees of Separation contributions here.

22 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘Postcards from the Edge’ to ‘Night Boat to Tangier’”

          1. Ah, thanks. Maybe I was rash to throw them out. I felt like I’d jumped on a bandwagon at the time because the British press and British bloggers were raving about him, but when I read Alone in Berlin I found it problematic.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. The Wall Jumper is a fascinating insight into a divided Germany. It reads like a journalistic non-fiction book and I remember having to remind myself it was fictional.

      The Barry is a gem of a book!

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    1. It’s hard work, Susan. There’s a great story there but it’s a big baggy novel in need of a good edit. I think the problem is it was rushed (for reasons that are explained in the afterword) and it shows.

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  1. Great chain kimbofo. I particularly liked being reminded of The tortilla curtain which I read before blogging, just about a year after I returned to Australia from the region where it was set.

    I love the cover of The death of Murat Idrissi.

    PS I love your new blog look. I have to say I never found the last one particularly easy to use though it looked pretty.

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    1. The Tortilla Curtain is one of those novels that has stayed with me… even though I read it 17 years ago!!

      The cover of The Death of Murat Idrissi freaks me out a little… it’s a reminder that it is how he is transported across borders, squished into the boot of someone’s hire car!

      Thanks for nice comment about blog design. I’ve basically come full circle as this is pretty much how it looked circa 2005.

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