ICE Breakers

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

BOOK OF THE MOMENT

What does this story tell you about powerful people and their ability to escape justice?
Did Cora’s fate always seem doomed? Could she have ever escaped the collusive silence of the privileged white society?
Where do you think Cora’s strength came from?
How shocked were you that it was Martin and Ethel’s own maid Fiona who betrayed them to the authorities? Why do you think she betrayed them?
Do you think Ridgeway represents pure evil?
Why do you think Cora let Ridgeway live?
Whitehead recently said in an interview that “Politicians don’t read,” and therefore are not elevated or passionate about changing legislation. Do you agree with this statement?
Do you think Colson Whitehead’s writing has the power to make a difference and even change legislation for the future?
Do you think America has moved on from this period of history?

REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Why do you think Tyler lays out Micah’s daily routine so concisely in the first two pages of the book? 
Were you frustrated by Micah’s lack of awareness towards Cass and Brink?
Were you surprised to discover the rest of Micah’s family were so different from him?  What impact do you think coming from such a large family, with 4 older sisters had on his outlook to life?
Do you think Micah is happy with the life he leads?
How do you think Tyler keeps us so absorbed? 
How does this compare to other books you may have read by Anne Tyler?

THE ENCHANTED APRIL

Lotty and Rose had a chance meeting in London? Does this sound like a credible starting point to the plot?
Rose (Mrs Arbuthnot) felt guilty about the source of her husband’s income and her donations to the poor from this? Is her faith a weakness?
Lotty Wilkins is equally ashamed of her secret 'nest egg'. Does this scenario seem dated in the modern world? Do we still harbour secrets from our partners?
Rose (Mrs Arbuthnot) left a note for her husband Frederick, to announce her month’s break? Setting aside the pandemic, how easy would this be to slip away for a month and how would your partner and family feel about this?
Mrs Fisher introduces herself as ‘merely an old woman with a stick’. All four characters introduce their own ‘crutches’? Do you think women today are less formal and would we be as evasive about their personal lives as these characters?
Have you ever managed to escape and be only ‘you’ and not a mother, a wife, a colleague etc.
The arrival of men at the resort affected the equilibrium of the party and provided a spike of excitement and drama? How did your group feel about this?
The Den took the chance to compare this novel with 'The Pursuit of Love' by Nancy Mitford (written around the same time) in book club. What other novels did this remind you of you? How does it compare in terms of writing style and subject matter?

THE WILD CARD

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Illustrations by Lizzie Nightingale