Six Degrees of Separation: From Murmur to Heresy…

I’ve been following the Six Degrees of Separation meme run by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest for ages now, but hadn’t yet plucked up the courage to join in. I decided yesterday that I’d jump on board next month, mainly because I’d read the book that’s been set as the starting point. However, last night, I finished reading a book that gave me a direct link to the current #6degrees starting title, so I thought, despite being a day late, I’d give it a go anyway.

You can find the details and rules of the #6degrees meme at bookaremyfavouriteandbest, but in a nutshell, everyone has the same starting book and from there, you connect to other books. Some of the connections made are so impressive, it’s a lot of fun to follow.

On with the show…

The starting book is Murmur by Will Eaves, which I haven’t read, nor had I even heard of prior to this meme. Goodreads describes the book as follows:

Taking its cue from the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Alan Turing, Murmur is the account of a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with love, honour and a rigorous, unsentimental curiosity about the ways in which we perceive ourselves and the world. Formally audacious, daring in its intellectual inquiry and unwaveringly humane, Will Eaves’s new novel is a rare achievement.

The book I finished last night is called, The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung, and it’s all about the world of higher mathematics in the middle of the twentieth century. The book contains an account of Alan Turing, who he was, what he did for mathematics – and the world, and what happened to him. The Tenth Muse also contains themes relating to Germany in the decades following WWII, particularly about the way German’s were dealing with the stain of Nazism.

It’s with this theme, that I link to my next book, The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain. One of the main characters in this novel is the child of former Nazis who hid this knowledge from her. There’s a lot in this novel about the way history gets re-written as a means of hiding guilt and it also explores the difficulty that the second generation of Germans after WWII have had with growing up with this stain of Nazism alongside the denial from their parents that they were a part of it. It taps into that notion that there were no Nazis in Germany after the war. Similar really, to France, where after WWII, everyone claimed they were in the resistance, no one was a collaborator, nor were they ever in the Gestapo.

Which of course links me to my next title, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a novel I love dearly. Set in occupied France, it explores the way in which people act when living in an occupied territory, the different ways in which people resisted or collaborated during the war years. The Nightingale was the first book by Kristin Hannah that I’d read, but I enjoyed her writing so much that I began to slowly make my way through her backlist.

Another standout novel written by her is True Colours. This is a contemporary novel, set on a ranch in America, following the lives of three very different sisters. There is an injustice within this novel, born out of racism, that underpins the story and the author turns a spotlight onto wrongful convictions and the organisations that are working hard to advocate for families who are living through the hell that is a miscarriage of justice. True Colours also looks closely at the connection between humans and horses, a theme I love to read about.

This is displayed so beautifully in Just After Midnight by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This was such a moving novel about a traumatised girl losing her beloved horse and a woman who decides to help her get it back. There’s so much in this novel about trust and betrayal, dealing with trauma, forging new relationships and the pure love between humans and horses.

Which brings me to my final connection, Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt, an absolute cracker of a western which follows the story and crimes of an all women gang in the wild west of the US in the days of early settlement. The women initially form their gang when their horse ranch is stolen from them. All of their crimes are motivated by retribution and the novel explores the many ways in which women were used and exploited in the early days of American settlement.

Goodness! I did it! Better late than never but I’ll aim to be on time for next month’s #6degrees.

14 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Murmur to Heresy…

  1. Welcome to the club, and what a stunning entry to it!
    I really like the sound of The Tenth Muse and the novels that follow it, because occupation novels really interest me with their themes of guilt, survival and redemption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Took me a bit longer than I thought it might but I really enjoyed putting it together.
      The Tenth Muse is excellent. It’s not released until 11th June. I’m still pondering before I write up my review.


    • That’s good to know, I wasn’t sure if it was that 1st Saturday only. Because I’d only finished The Tenth Muse last night, and then seeing your #6degrees pop up this morning, I figured I’d do it anyway, regardless.


    • It was fun! I’m glad I joined in.
      I think you would like The Tenth Muse. It’s primarily about the extent women in science have been undervalued over time and the protagonist’s struggle to enter the exclusive world of higher mathematics, despite being a mathematical genius. Underpinning this, is her search for her true identity and how mathematics puts her in touch with her own history. It’s a very good novel. Despite containing its fair share of maths (the author has a mathematics degree), it’s surprisingly easy to read and contains many threads.


Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s