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ICE Breakers



Eilis has clearly changed in 20 years. What changes did you particularly observe in her character and how did these changes affect the storyline?
How do you think Enniscorthy and Ireland have changed over this period and again how did this affect the main characters of the book and their future decisions?
Why do you think Eilis’s mother is so drawn to Rosella?
Did you like how the pace quickens in the last third of the book, or did your club prefer the more subtle finale of 'Brooklyn'?
What did you think of the ending and how did it make you feel?
Silences and unanswered questions are key to Tóibín’s writing – would you agree?
How did 'Long Island' compare to 'Brooklyn' and did your book club have a preference?



Were you surprised by the brokerage of the young bride’s marriage? Was she then lucky in love with her new husband? And were you surprised by what life had in store for Ammachi?
Did you enjoy Digby Kilgour’s story and how he overcame his own challenges? Did his story play out as you expected and what is the significance of him leaving as an 'oppressed Scot' to becoming an oppressor in British India?
Could this novel have been shorter and why does length matter? Are you more invested in the lives of the characters and did it make some of the tragic moments more acceptable or disturbing?
Did you appreciate the fear associated to unknown and incurable diseases and do you think if they had a diagnosis they might have had a different life ahead of them?
Did the novel give you an enlightening taste of Kerala and India and has it informed you on the country’s historical and political position?
Oprah Winfrey who picks this book out in her book club, refers to this novel as ‘One of the best books I’ve read in my entire life’. Do you agree? Is it worth reading? And how does it compare to 'Cutting for Stone'?


What were your opinions on the tone of the novel?
Did your feelings towards Clive and Vernon change as the story developed?
Is everyone is 'Amsterdam' a hypocrite?
How effective is Molly’s character as one who never appears. Are there other characters in literature who carry the same force?
“Even more timely today than when it won the Booker in 1998” according to a newspaper critic, do you agree?
How does this compare to other novels by Ian McEwan? Is this a favourite?


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