Friday, February 2, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation - from Lincoln at the Bardo to Orphan Train

There are a surprisingly large number of books that the tragic death of a child is the catalyst for a story.  Muse & Views Book Club has not read Lincoln in the Bardo but over the years we have read several that include the tragic death of a child. Like one of our members said, there is a lot of sadness in this meme.

Beginning book – Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders tells the story of tragedy, the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son and a spin into the supernatural.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – from the violent death of Susie Salmon, we learn how she died and the tragic effects on her family from her seat in heaven.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – The death of a child has an impact not only on parents but also on the surviving children.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay – The discovery of the skeleton of a child in a hidden closet is the catalyst for this horror story coming from historical realities of World War II.

Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards – In this story the tragic accidental death of a child is a catalyst to the story of poverty, envy and hatred in a small town.

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton – the tragic accidental death of a child this time, reveals how idealism and unrealistic dreams of life on a farm takes a mother to the brink of depression and its tragic consequences on her life, her family and the community that has not accepted them in their fold.

Orphan Train by Kristina Baker Kline – Children finding themselves orphaned when poverty-stricken parents die of influenza and other epidemics, some taken by train towards western states and provinces to be adopted by farm families die of neglect or from violent encounters.

To see how others connected Lincoln in the Bardo to other titles, see Six Degrees of Separation


  1. For once I have read some of the books on your list! The Lovely Bones is probably one of the most terrifying and disturbing books I've read - I read it with me book group as well and we all found it frightening.

    Commonwealth was one of my favourite books of 2017 - I thought the writing was breathtakingly beautiful and that chapter about the at on the lake? Amazing.

    I wasn't a huge fan of Sarah's Key but was interested in that aspect of France & WWII history that I hadn't known about previously.

    Thanks again for paying along.

  2. The only one of the books you listed that I've read is The Lovely Bones. Yes, it was disturbing. I liked your chain. Reminded me of some books I'd been aware of but never got to in past years.

  3. I had The Lovely Bones too, for different reasons but it seemed a logical leap.

  4. One never knows where this exercise will take us. I landed on The Rosie Project of all places. I tried to work in Commonwealth but ended up going a different direction. Here is my 6-Degrees Post


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