Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 2, 2019

Six Degrees of Separation: From Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, to …

Oh my, this starter book for #6Degrees is a challenge!  I haven’t read Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, and unlike our host for this meme, Kate from Books are My Favourite and Best and Sue from Whispering Gums I didn’t even know there was a film, (and now have no inclination whatsoever to watch it).  So it was off to Goodreads where I read my friend KD’s review so that I could latch onto some idea or other, and I found this quotation from the author in the introduction to the book, thanks KD!

…bookstores were full of books like The Joy Luck Club and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and How to Make an American Quilt. These were all novels that presented a social model for women to be together. But there was no novel that presented a new social model for men to share their lives.

Ah ha!  Books about masculinity I can do!  There are a few reviews on this blog of what KD has shelved as ‘guy-lit’ but I’m going to choose a recent award winner, Dancing Home by Paul Collis who is a Barkindji man, from far western NSW on the Darling River. This book not only won the 2016 David Unaipon Award but also won the 2018 ACT Book of the Year Award.  It’s a tough but rewarding read exploring the tender side of toxic masculinity*… see my review here.

From there it’s an easy link to Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip.  I love the way this Bundjalung author portrays her central characters as tough Indigenous women with a tender side.  Lucashenko’s women have to be tough because they can’t afford to give up on the struggle for justice, but they’re also loving women, and they are often very funny.

From Lucashenko’s blackfella du jour on a stolen Harley, I’m going way back to an early review on this blog for a link to another motorcyclist.  8 States of Catastrophe by Karenlee Thompson traces the picaresque adventures of MV (Mozart Vincent), a motorcycle-riding psychic poet, and his sidecar companion, a black Labrador named Rider, as they travel around Australia.

Karenlee is also the author of my 2017 Book of the Year Flame Tip.  Loosely themed around the catastrophic Black Tuesday Bushfires in Tasmania in 1967, it’s a collection of short fictions which wring my heart given the current fires in Tassie. Today ABC Online is showing satellite images of the desolation, and Tasmanian Pam at Travellin’ Penguin has written a moving piece that pays homage to the firefighters and the volunteers working to rescue wildlife. Her photo of a kangaroo with his burns patched up is a tribute in itself.

Another book with the same word in its title is Flames by debut Tassie author Robbie Arnott.  Recently shortlisted in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, this cunning novel offers a whole new mythology that builds on the idea of vengeful reincarnations who use flame to deal with unfinished business, old grudges, forgotten choresSee my review here.

And that leads me to my final title, Nyarla and the Circle of Stones, (The Fethafoot Chronicles #1) by Pemulwuy Weeatunga.  Pemulwuy Weeatunga is the nom-de-plume of John Wenitong, of Kabi-kabi Aboriginal, South-Sea-islander, Nepalese and Indian/Sri-Lankan descent, and this series is based on storytelling from the oldest living culture in the world. Wenitong wrote the stories for teenage Indigenous readers so that (without revealing cultural matters which are sacred) they can enjoy a mythology of their own, to rival the epics of Greek and Roman mythology.

So that’s my #6Degrees: from a book I do not want to read at all, to one I’d like to see being read in classrooms across Australia and beyond…

Thanks to Kate at Books are my Favourite and Best for hosting:)

*Update 1/6/19: In the light of this article about Meryl Streep’s objection to it, I’ve been thinking about my use of the term ‘toxic masculinity’ and I’ve decided not to use it in future.



  1. Haha, nice circle Lisa. And I love that I know of nearly all these books and have read or have on my TBR about half of them.

    I wouldn’t have seen Fight club except for having a teenage boy around at the time it came out. The things you do!


    • Indeed yes. For us it was repeat screenings of Monty Python with catering for lots of hungry boys, I swear I know the screenplay off by heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not read Fight Club but seen the movie a couple of times! Chuck Palahniuk is actually listed on my “favourite authors” page, though admittedly I haven’t read anything by him for a long time. I like this edgy fiction peppered with kooky characters and over-the-top plots; he’s a really exciting writer but you do have to be in the right frame of mind to read him.


    • I would say that about Paul Collins’ book as well. I had trouble getting into it at first, but found it worth persisting with when I was in a different mood.


  3. Such diversity in your choices Lisa – I’ve not heard of any of these books, but they sound quite compelling.


    • You need to make a trip to Australia and leave room in your suitcase for some of our books!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is going to make my own efforts at the chain look very predictable now…..


  5. nice connections! Here is mine, except I goofed:


  6. As an avid motorbike lit reader how have I not heard of 8 Catastrophes. I love your circle here. Flame is one book that has not appealed to read but I can’t tell you why. 🤠🐧


    • Interesting… as I was working on this post, I thought of linking Flames to Sarah Perry’s Melmoth because that also features a vengeful female spirit wreaking vengeance from one generation to another, but I decided to stay Australian instead. (And besides, I didn’t think much of Melmoth).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Black Tuesday.  Yes, this book figured in my last #6Degrees… it’s on my mind a lot during the bushfire […]


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