Warning: If you have not read “Six Degrees of Freedom” by Nicolas Dickner, do not read this review unless you want spoilers!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Six Degrees of Freedom” by Nicolas Dickner! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Three characters, infinite paths to freedom…
Lisa is a young woman whose longing for adventure is tethered by the demands of an eccentric mother and a father slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s. Lisa’s friend Éric is an agoraphobic hacker who becomes independently wealthy before his eighteenth birthday. And Jay is a former computer pirate who’s paying her debt to society, day by stultifying day, working for the RCMP in Montreal. But when Jay learns of the existence of the mysterious shipping container Papa Zulu, she begins a clandestine investigation to discover who made it disappear and what they are trying to hide.”
Please note, before I dive into the review, that I read the translated-to-English version. It was originally written in French, but I don’t know French well enough to read the original version, unfortunately. Because of this, I will keep in mind that some things may or may not have been lost in translation and so I’ll go a little easy on this book as a result.
The driving force of the book’s plot definitely comes from the characters. We have two plotlines, it seems: One is about Jay and her hunt to recover the disappeared Papa Zulu shipping container, and the other involves Lisa and Eric, with a kind of minor plotline of Lisa’s own father Robert slowly deteriorating in his mental health—he specifically suffers from Alzheimer’s, as Robert is noted to increasingly forget many things to the point that he must be put into the care of others to remember to do basic things, and this impacts Lisa quite a bit in the book. In fact, I think Robert and Lisa’s plotline was the most entertaining to read out of all the plotlines.
The other two plotlines involved were good, but they lagged a bit in the middle. By the time you reach the end of the book, however, all the loose ends have been tied up well so that it’s a good ending, and that makes up for it.
I wish I could say more about the highlights, but I found after reading the book that it’s almost a bit hard to figure out what made the novel so enjoyable, other than what I just described. I think the writing style itself had a way of catching my attention, but it’s really hard to describe how. You kind of have to read it in order to experience it for yourself.
As I read the book, I noticed that some technology described in the book seems limited by today’s standards. For example, some characters are hobbled by the lack of Wi-Fi, which seems absurd in 2018 when smartphones and data plans are all over the place. Though this is a minor negative point about the book, it was still a bit odd for me to read.