Six Degrees of Separation: Second Place by Rachel Cusk


Six Degrees of Separation: How it Works

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

This Month’s Starting Book


I’d never heard of this book or its author, so here’s the blurb from Amazon:

A woman invites a famous artist to use her guesthouse in the remote coastal landscape where she lives with her family. Powerfully drawn to his paintings, she believes his vision might penetrate the mystery at the center of her life. But as a long, dry summer sets in, his provocative presence itself becomes an enigma—and disrupts the calm of her secluded household. ….A study of female fate and male privilege, the geometries of human relationships, and the moral questions that animate our lives. It reminds us of art’s capacity to uplift—and to destroy.


My Chain



A man with a mystery at the center of his life is Harry Clifton–all the more fascinating because it is a self-made or self-chosen mystery. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer. (Scroll down in the linked post for my review).



Another man with a mystery at the center of his life who certainly disrupts a few households over the course of his career is William Monk. That there is also a lot of female fate and male privilege adds interest to this entire series.  The first book in the series is The Face of A Stranger where the first part of the mystery is introduced. (I devoured the first umpteen of these, but I do not usually review series fiction due to spoilers).



An artist of another kind has a mystery at the center of her life that causes visitors to disrupt her household and almost sealing her female fate and more male privilege. Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller.



A play in which a radio personality’s visit disrupts the calm of the household is The Man Who Came to Dinner. He stayed and stayed and stayed–hence the suggestion that you “don’t want to be the man who came to dinner….”



Some very lovely households got completely destroyed in World War II (and a few in World War I) not by bombs, but by being requisitioned for government use as Army bases, naval hospitals, code-breaking offices and whatever else they needed them to be. Still others were invaded by entire schools, old folks homes, and other entities in need of escape from the Blitz in London and other cities.The privilidge males who traditionally inherit and own these houses, for once, got a taste of female fate, but having to do the bidding of others exactly as the others said! Our Uninvited Guests by Julie Summers.



Finally, the book with an artist (Charles) who is at least a tad mysterious due to being only middle class, lands during the war in a requisitioned estate of the grandest proportions where the household that has been disrupted is so reeking of male privilege and female fate that it would take hundreds of pages to discuss all of the many forms of that privilege. The War has now disrupted the family of Lord Marchmain, but in the bygone days be

wteen the wars, Charles himself disrupted the household by intriguing the mother, wanting to marry the sister after having an affair with the brother. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.



Next Month


October’s chains will start with….. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Did you do a chain this month? Leave me a link in the comments–I’d love to read your post.

12 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Second Place by Rachel Cusk

  1. I haven’t read Unsettled Ground yet (it’s close to the top of my stack) but reading your summary, it could almost be a direct link to Second Place. I liked your country house theme.


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