Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.
This month is a wild card – start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there.
1.One of the main characters in Travelers is Nigerian, that immediately brought to mind the books of Buchi Emacheta an immigrant who wrote about the immigrant experience in London. I read most of her books in 1992–1994 after returning home from Peace Corps. I remember them fondly.
2. A book that combines the Black London experience with West Africa is Swing Time–my favorite of Zadie Smith’s books. My review is here. Combining the experience of the have nots with that of the 1% this novel gives us a view of the backside of a Princess Di or Madaonna or any other A-list celebrity charity events in an impoverished nation.
3. A big name can do a lot for a small place. The 3rd Baron Glenconner did that for a little island called Mustique, bringing tourists and money to the area–if not to that exact island. Two books (counted as one) tell this story. Sometimes, the islanders have the last laugh–though I am sorry for Anne Glenconner. My review of Lady in Waiting is here. After reading these two books (I have not reviewed Lord of the Isle yet) I understood why Princess Margaret’s son immediately sold the her house and moved to Provence!
4. A tiny, tropical nation still requires diplomats to live there and diplomats generally bring their wives. Marriages have their ups and downs. Countries have their ups and downs. Racism and colonialism are like a disease in most places. What happens when the malaise of a long-time marriage meets the discontent of lingering colonialism? White Woman on a Green Bicycle. My review is here.
5. The diplomats, even from former colonial powers, sometimes get a little too friendly with the locals. I’m not sure why, but when reading this I kept picturing the younger diplomat as Prince William of Gloucester who served in the British Embassy in Nigeria for a few years! William Boyd’s A Good Man for Africa–-the movie was pretty good, too.
6. Americans can be so clueless! Reading this story of an American diplomat and his daughter in Nazi Berlin made me cringe at times. In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson. My review is here.
But, we’ve gone full circle–back to Berlin, back to an immigrant experience of sorts. Diplomats are not, of course, immigrants, but they do have to acculturate.
In December we start withEmbed from Getty Images
Prince William of Gloucester at his desk in Lagos.