ICE Breakers

THE ENGLISH PATIENT  

Why do you think Hana devotes herself to look after the Englishman?

Why is the Englishman drawn to the desert and its landscape?

Hana adores the Englishman.  Do you think the Englishman is a likeable individual and would you trust him?

Do you find Kip’s loyalty to the British cause credible?

Do you think all four characters are misfits or victims/survivors of war?

Katherine’s death is tragic – how do you think her death affects The Englishman?

Do you think the simplicity of their lives in San Girolamo Villa enhances their story?

This book was awarded 2018 Golden Booker – do you agree it is a worthy winner?

SEVEN DAYS OF US

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

How many of the family dynamics rang true to you?

Could you relate to the strain in Andrew and Emma's relationship?

Could you understand how easy it is to maintain a wall of silence of suffering and acceptance over a period of time? 

Every character has their individual secret  - do you think a forced period of confinement would always uncover the truth?

Did you find this a heartwarming story?

10 MINUTES 38 SECONDS IN THIS STRANGE WORLD

THE WILD CARD

Did you like Leila?  Were you able to understand the choices she made?

How did this book make you feel about the power of friendship?

Turkey today still appears to be a patriarchal society – why do you think women can still be silenced in the modern world and how does this make you feel?

The second half of the book has a very different feel to the first - did you think this transition was successful and which did you enjoy the most and why?

Did the ending move you or did you feel Shafak tied up all the loose ends too quickly and made the story less powerful and believable?

Shafak beautifully captures the minutiae of every day life in Istanbul - would you agree and what are your favourite examples of this?

Elif Shafak feels it is unsafe for her to return to Turkey for fear of arrest - do you think she is a credit to her country and could she have told this story differently?

MY SUNSHINE AWAY

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

This novel has been compared to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird - do you agree?

Why do you think the author maintains the anonymity of the narrator? 

This book is about the power of memory and the consequences of keeping a childhood secret.  Do you think everyone has childhood secrets they would like to reveal but can't?

Why do you think the narrator was unable to comfort Lindy at the time?

Do you think Lindy forgave the narrator?  Do you think he forgave himself?

The author spends a section on the relationship between Baton Rouge and New Orleans - did you find this section interesting and do you think it added to the story?

Do you think the narrator ever really know Lindy?

Despite the serious subject matter, the novel never feels dark - would you agree and if so, how do you think the author achieves this?

THE HEART'S INVISIBLE FURIES

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Do feel it is important to be catholic or religious to empathise with Cyril’s mother? How did it resonate in your group and what stories did it ignite?

The book has been described as ‘the story of Ireland’. Do you think this it Boyne’s objective?  

What other themes struck you? Is this Boyne’s story? 

Did you enjoy his writing style and what other authors does it remind you of?  Have you read any other novels by Boyne such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Can you see book hitting the big screen and would you go and see it?  

SAL

THE WILD CARD

Were you astonished at the maturity of Sal?

Did you find the story believable?

How do you think the book being written in the first-person narrator added to the story?

The language is real and visceral – did you find this a refreshing change?

How do you think society lets down children such as Sal and Peppa? 

Mick Kitson was a teacher for many years.  Do you think he is trying to make us aware of the shortcomings of society in allowing vulnerable children to go unchecked?

AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Do you think Roy and Celestial’s marriage would have survived if he hadn’t gone to prison?

Do you think it is inevitable that someone as young as Celestial would find it hard to wait and stay faithful, or do you think the fact she couldn’t shows their relationship was not strong enough to begin with?

If the roles were reversed, and Celestial had been the one in prison, do you think Roy would have waited for her?

Do you think this miscarriage of justice against African-Americans is prevalent in modern day America?

We are not given any information about the woman Roy is accused of raping.  What impact does this give to the story and what kind of woman do you imagine she is?

ANY HUMAN HEART

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

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