Time to get my linking hat on!
Yes, it’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time to participate in Six Degrees of Separation, a meme hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest.
I’m feeling a bit brain dead at the moment (I started a new job three weeks ago and my bandwidth is operating at full capacity), so I am going to try to keep this short and sweet: here are the six books I have chosen for my chain. As ever, click the title to read my full review of each book.
This month the starting book is…
‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ by Peter Carey (2000)
I have a love-hate relationship with Peter Carey and this is one of those novels that falls into the latter camp. In my pre-blogging days, I had a hardback copy of True History and tried to read it several times but always became unstuck by about page 50, so abandoned it and never went back. I was a much younger, less experienced reader then, so I reckon I would probably get on with it quite well now. I do, at some stage, plan to give it another go, especially as it was recently featured in the Australian TV series The Books that Made Us.
All that aside, given True History is about a bushranger — the notorious Ned Kelly — my first link is…
‘The Burial’ by Courtney Collins (2013)
The Burial tells the tale of Jessie Hickman, a female bushranger who rustles horses and duffs cattle, in the years after the Great War.
Another featuring castle rustling is…
‘Coal Creek’ by Alex Miller (2014)
In this novel, a simple, uneducated man joins the police in outback Queensland in the 1950s. His job makes use of his exemplary horsemanship to help track thieves and stolen stock. But his easygoing nature is tested to the limits when a new boss from the city changes the whole way the local community is policed.
Another story about rural policing is…
‘Bitter Wash Road’ by Garry Disher (2013)
Bitter Wash Road (published as Hell to Pay in the US) is the first in a trilogy known as “the Paul Hirschhausen novels”. Set in South Australia’s wheatbelt, three hours north of Adelaide, the hot, dry landscape is as much a character as the city policeman “Hirsch” who has been exiled to a single-officer police station.
Another book featuring a single-officer police station is…
‘A Border Station’ by Shane Connaugton (1989)
This is a beautiful coming-of-age tale set in the 1950s that follows the day-to-day dramas of a young boy growing up in rural Ireland in a remote house attached to a police barracks, where his father — a fierce, bad-tempered police sergeant — is the only employee.
Another book about the son of a policeman is…
‘Memoir’ by John McGahern (2005)
The late John McGahern is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest writers. He was the eldest son of a policeman, with whom he had a troubled relationship. This memoir concentrates mainly on his childhood and adolescence growing up in rural Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s and reads very much like a love letter to his adored mother, a school teacher, who died of breast cancer when he was eight years old.
Another memoir by an Irish writer, albeit of songs, is…
‘Rememberings’ by Sinead O’Connor (2021)
Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor has had a troubled history, both with the public and her own family, and this memoir is a beautifully written account of her side of the story. It’s funny, irreverent, unflinchingly honest and powerful — a bit like the woman herself.
So that’s this month’s #6Degrees: from a novel about a notorious Irishman to a memoir about a notorious Irishwoman, via books about a female bushranger, rural policing and being the son of a garda sergeant.
Have you read any of these books?
Please note, you can see all my other Six Degrees of Separation contributions here.