#6Degrees of Separation: From True History of the Kelly Gang to Sugar in the Blood

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It’s the first Saturday of the month which means it’s time for 6 Degrees of Separation!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: 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 or esoteric 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. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.


This month’s starting book is True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, a book I haven’t read but which I know tells the story of notorious Australian bushranger, outlaw and gang leader, Ned Kelly.

The exploits of a gang are also the focus of The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers. Set in Yorkshire in the 1760s, it tells the story of the Cragg Vale Coiners. ‘Coining’ was the illegal practice of removing shavings of gold from the edges of genuine coins, milling the edges of those coins smooth again and then using the shavings to produce counterfeit coins.

Benjamin Myers’ first novel, Pig Iron, is the story of John-John, the son of bare-knuckle boxer. One of the stories in Daniel Mason’s collection A Registry Of My Passage Upon The Earth features a bare-knuckle fighter preparing to face his most fearsome opponent.

A Registry Of My Passage Upon The Earth was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2021. The winner was The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. Set in 1953, it concerns the impact of the passing of the Emancipation Bill which aimed to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry is set one hundred years earlier and features two men – Thomas McNulty and John Cole – who fight in the Indian Wars against the Sioux and the Yurok but end up adopting a young Sioux girl.

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. also features a relationship between two men, in this case slaves Isaiah and Samuel who live on a Mississippi cotton plantation.

Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart is her memoir of delving into her family’s history and discovering her earliest ancestors were owners of a sugar plantation in Barbados that made use of slave labour.

My chain has taken me from Australia to Barbados. Where did your chain take you?

9 thoughts on “#6Degrees of Separation: From True History of the Kelly Gang to Sugar in the Blood

  1. I keep meaning to read The Gallows Pole and Sugar in the Blood, so thank you for featuring them and reminding me… Some very interesting titles here for me to explore, not very familiar with any of them.

    Like

  2. What a great chain Cathy. Mine goes from Australia to Ireland, to England and ends in the US. I really enjoying all the chains this month.

    Like

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