ICE Breakers

A WOMAN IS NO MAN

BOOK OF THE MOMENT

The title – “A Woman is No Man” – how true is this today for women in Palestine and those from Palestine living in a western society?
What were your feelings towards Fareeda and did they change throughout the book?
Some of us in the Den found it difficult to understand Isra’s lack of courage to stand up to what she wanted. Were you able to understand why she complied so easily? Is it safer for many women in this situation to surrender to their situation?
Why do you think Adam was never able to establish his own family home away from his parents?
What did Fareeda’s belief in the power of the djinn and not acknowledging the family’s mental illness such as Isra’s depression and Adam’s alcoholism tell you?
What insights has this given you into Arab culture, particularly with regards the shame of not producing a boy, being beaten and keeping up appearances?
The ending asks so many questions. What did the ending represent for you?
Did the book leave you disillusioned or hopeful for Deya and her sisters’ futures?
Rum is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants born and raised in Brooklyn – do you think some of the book is autobiographical?

OLIVE AGAIN

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Have any of your group read 'Olive Kitterage' before this sequel? Or indeed seen the TV series?
What is the appeal of Stroutt's writing style and why given the subject matter of 'twilight years' does it elicit plenty of funny moments?
Jack is a new love interest for Olive? Is this true love or 'convenient' love?
Did you recognise your older self in any of the stories or scenes? The Den enjoyed Labor, what story appealed to you and the group?
Do the characters and stories ignite discussion about your own relationship with family and life generally in the community? Do you know an Olive?
Has the recent pandemic and the impact on the older generation affected your own reading of 'Olive Again'? Were you surprised at how much you had to talk about this novel?
Can you imagine a sequel for TV?

THE GHOST IN THE THROAT

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a poet and essayist. Do you think this enhanced the narrative and your reading experience?
Did you enjoy the storyteller’s description of life as a young mother and homemaker? What chimed with you and your group?
What did you think of the storyteller’s life? Did she seem fulfilled as a mother? Did you question why she had devoted her life as a homemaker, given her academic achievements and capabilities?
Did you find yourself investigating the case of Art Ó Laoghaire? Do you think other historical stories and episodes worthy of further investigation?
There are plenty of passages where the ordinary becomes extraordinary? Do you have a favourite?
Did the novel help you appreciate the lament at the end?
What did you think of the book’s title? What do you think the author wanted to achieve?
What do you think this author could do next?

THE WILD CARD