ICE Breakers

CATCH-22

Book Of The MOMENT

Apart from Yossarian always being in the no-win situation, deemed sane enough to fly, in what other ways does the phrase catch-22 apply to his situation and to other characters?

Joseph Heller portrays the insanity of military life with absurd humour. How does this make you feel about the seriousness of the subject he is writing about?

In the introduction, Howard Jacobson says one of the virtues of Catch-22 is its apparent formlessness, the unruliness and waywardness of the writing and its verbal excess – do you agree?

We were struck by the fact every character seems determinedly selfish in their behaviour, always looking out for themselves first – did this surprise you?

The book jumps around from past to present, you are suddenly reminded of facts you had read earlier – do you think this adds to the humour of the book?

How did you find the ending of the book?

Do you agree that this book is a masterpiece?

MIDWINTER BREAK

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Why do you think Stella chooses this time to question her marriage?

Can you comprehend the strength of Stella's faith despite the heartache she has endured?

Why do you think Gerry drinks?

In some ways Gerry and Stella are "miles apart" in their understanding of each other but in other ways their intimacy is unnerving - what do you think this says about their relationship?

How do you think MacLaverty's attention to the everyday, captured in this novel, impacts the story?

Are you surprised by Stella's ultimate decision?

THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR

THE WILD CARD

Do you think this was a gripping read and what memories, if any, do you have of the Cold War era? 

Fact or fiction? Given MacIntyre met with Gordievsky, how accurate do you think this historical account of events is?

How does MacIntryre make this narrative accessible?

What books, films, documentaries does this account remind you of? 

Do you think there are other Gordievskys and Skripals operating today?  

What parallels can drawn with Putin's Russia, global politics and the Skripal assignation attempt in Salisbury.

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