Books lead to more books. Read one and you’re reminded of another. New material refers to past releases, either directly or in roundabout ways. Genres cross over, involving similar concepts, tropes, devices. Writers lift, pay tribute, re-imagine, claim as their own and take it a step further in the name of compelling art. Pick up the trail and we end up making extraordinary connections.

Welcome to Connection Degree Three …

Black Water; Gone Girl; The Bastard Of Istanbul. Three powerful stories on the edge and drama in relationships that don’t pan out the way they’re expected to.

Joyce Carol Oates’ Black Water is the story of a bright young woman who, at a Fourth of July party, meets a politician of whom she is in awe. The charismatic politician befriends her and offers her a ride home, turning her fantasies into reality, a reality too good to be true.

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is the story of a happily married couple in Missouri whose happiness is more window-dressing than bliss. Then one of them disappears and everything goes into high gear. The backstory is revealed, setting the framework, starting with the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary on July 5 – a day after Independence Day – which is when the story kicks off.

Elif Shafak’s The Bastard Of Istanbul is the tale of two large families, one Turkish, the other Armenian, the paths of whom cross a century after the genocide of the Armenian population in Turkey. The story begins on the first Friday of July, close to a very important day for Armenia (July 5 is Constitution Day). Also note that the novel’s author, Elif Shafak, resided in Tucson, AZ at the time she wrote the novel, which links the choice of date with July Fourth, for US audiences anyway.

And there you have it. Black Water; Gone Girl; The Bastard Of Istanbul: three compelling tales that focus on the hurt and machinations behind relationships gone awry. In all three of them, at the beginning of each story, looms Independence Day, offering a symbolic reference point that helps frame and explore the repercussions of trust violated and emotions unchecked.


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