Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 5, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation: from No One is Talking about This to….

This month’s #6Degrees starts with No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood.  I haven’t read it but the perfect link sprang to mind as soon as I saw it.  If no one is talking, there must be a silence, but that’s a silence that is heavy with meaning. However, it’s not always a silence that should be broken.

Le Silence de la mer (The Silence of the Sea) by “Vercors” is a novel of the French Resistance, written and published underground during the German Occupation.  I read it in French in a bilingual edition.  The silence to which the title refers is the sustained refusal of a French man and his daughter to speak to a German officer billeted with them.  For over a year, the only voice that’s heard in their cottage is the voice of the German officer.  See my review here.

I’ve read a few Occupation novels, mostly set in France but also in Korea, Singapore, Palestine, Iraq and Italy.  For my next link however, I’ve chosen The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte because it’s about an occupation few people know about, i.e. the German occupation of parts of Russia during WW2. See my review here.

Riffing on the word ‘estate’ in the title but also alluding to occupation, is ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth’ by Bill Gammage.  It mounts a compelling case for the argument that Indigenous Australians managed their lands in a sustainable way so that they were a productive food source throughout the year. You can read my review here, and a Sensational Snippet here.

The topic of land management in Australian of course brings to mind Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu, Agriculture or Accident? which has since been the subject of some controversy and which led in turn to Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? by Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe.  See my review here.

However, I’d like to draw attention to Bruce Pascoe’s fiction. Pascoe, a Yuin, Bunerong and Tasmanian man, is a prolific author who has, Wikipedia tells me, 182 items listed at Aust Lit.  At the time of writing my review of Earth (2001) I knew of five of his adult and YA novels: Fox (1988); Shark (1999); Ruby-eyed Coucal (1996); Ribcage (1999); Ocean, (2002); Bloke (2009) and Fog a Dox (2012). There may be more.

The remarkable feature of Bruce Pascoe’s Earth is that the theme predates by a decade Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance as an imaginative recreation of the settlement years from an indigenous point-of-view.  But where Scott’s highly awarded novel is based in Western Australia, (see my review and a Sensational Snippet here) Earth tells a story from the Werribee district west of Melbourne in colonial 19th century Victoria. Written entirely in dialogue from which the reader derives the characterisation, setting and plot, Earth is well worth seeking out, if you can find a copy.

So there we are, that’s my #6Degrees for this month!

Next month’s starter book is a modern classic, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.  A wonderful book, one of Greene’s best IMO.

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


Responses

  1. Great chain Lisa that felt seamless. Love the occupation and estate link in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue:)
      I loved that book The Silence of the Sea… and was so pleased with myself that I could read it in the original French.
      I’m reading Colette at the moment, La Chatte. I wanted to have finished it by the time French lessons start next week, but alas, I’ve been too slow with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very clever first link and I’m endlessly impressed by your reading in French (I hope to one day get to a similar point with my German, but still far off).

    Like

  3. Well, that took some unexpected turns!

    Like

    • *chuckle*
      I do like to do that!

      Like

  4. Some interesting books in your chain, Lisa.

    I haven’t done my #6Degrees again this month… I got my booster jab on Thursday and was under the weather yesterday (I stayed home, lay on the sofa and watched movies in air-conditioned comfort)… and while I’m feeling better today I am still a bit out of sorts.

    Like

    • Oh no, hoping you are feeling better soon.
      It seems as if the post-jab reaction depends a bit on what you had before. The Spouse and I, being in That Age Group, both had AZ, and had no reaction at all to Pfizer, so much so that I wondered whether I’d had it at all. (Well, just for the record, I’m not in that age group yet, but I have the pre-existing conditions that put me into the group that got it first.) They say that we, that first group, are down to about 20% immunity by now, which is why the booster is vital. I don’t mind have a booster every six months if that’s what it takes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had AZ too, then Pfizer booster. Felt like I had been hit by a truck… mainly unbelievable fatigue, a headache and achey muscles. Feeling back to normal today though.

        Like

        • Oh… so much for my theory then! (Good thing I’m not in the medical profession, eh?)
          Good to hear you’re on the mend, and even better that you can be out and about feeling as safe as it’s possible to be.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I live opposite a drive-thru covid clinic. This morning’s queue is 60+ cars long. Covid has arrived in WA, border closure or not. I’m surrounded by exposure sites so limiting my movements where possible.

            Like

            • Very wise. Once WA has 90+ double vaxxed and a growing proportion of 3X, you will feel less anxious when you are out and about. And that’s a very good feeling.

              Like

              • WA is at 92% double vaxxed and 42% boosted last time I checked. Makes you realise those anti-vaxxers might be loud but they’re a tiny minority.

                Like

                • Indeed they are. A tiny irrelevant minority…

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant chain, Lisa. The Silence of the Sea immediately reserved at the library, and The Tolstoy Estate added to my wishlist. That Deadman Dance is already on my wishlist. I’m also curious about Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers.

    Like

    • That’s great that the library had it, I wouldn’t have expected that!

      Like

  6. Great chain, Lisa. I haven’t read a single one of them but would love to get to know “The Tolstoy Estate”.

    My Six Degrees of Separation ended with The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod.

    Like

    • I like your chain very much, an international spread of titles is always more interesting to me:)

      Like

      • A lot of the other blogges say that, Lisa. I have always lived in an international area, so I always have lots of international input. Also, there are a lot more books translated into German than they are into English.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. All of your choices are news to me–which is a good thing!

    Like

    • Ha ha, though it does make it hard to choose which one to look for first!

      Like

  8. I don’t know these books but you make a good case for each one. The Tolstoy Estate reminds me of one I read not long ago about a German doctor in Russia.

    Like

    • I think that if more people knew about what the Germans did in Russia, they would understand why Russia doesn’t want NATO guns all along its border. But they don’t. They think the war was won by the Americans on D-Day.

      Like

      • Well, the Europeans are not keen on Russia invading them, either. They didn’t exactly behave like gentlemen in either of the wars. And if you ask those countries that were part of the USSR; they all would love to become members of NATO in the hope they won’t be swallowed up by their Eastern neighbour again. It’s a tough situation with Mr. Putin rattlings his sabres …

        Like

  9. A well grounded chain, if you will!

    Like


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: