top of page
ICE Breakers



Clare Chambers takes the reader back to post war Britain. Do you think she has successfully captured this period? Were you nostalgic or grateful to not live during this time?
Many of the characters in the novels are confined by duty. To what extent do you think this is born out of the post war period? Would they have behaved differently if set in a more recent era?
Which character do you identify most with and who if any did you dislike and why?
Did the opening report of the accident alarm you as the reader and how did this affect your experience of reading the novel?
What aspects of the novel raised a smile? What 'small pleasures' did you find entertaining in the novel? Were there enough?
Did Jean remind you of any other fictional characters such as Eleanor Oliphant?
How did your group receive the ending? Was it inevitable or did it leave you in any way feeling optimistic?



Keri Hulme has a very individual way of writing, the author says in her preface “To those used to one standard, this book may offer a taste passing strange, like the original mouthful of kina roe. Persist. Kina can become a favourite food.” Did this book become a favourite book for you and your book club?
Do you think the character of Kerewin was semi-autobiographical? Keri Hulme herself lived in the middle of nowhere without a phone and only intermittent delivery, long before the internet.
How did your feelings for Joe change throughout the book?
Do you think a child’s love is unconditional?
Could you understand Kerewin’s decision to stand by Joe?
This book is both a simple story and yet an incredibly complex story – would you agree?
Why do you think Kerewin is so distrustful of people and society?
How important is the Maori heritage to both Joe and Kerewin and what role does this play in their actions?
Why do you think these 3 misfits are drawn to each other despite being so different?
Did you find the streams of consciousness and dreams added to the story, or made it harder to follow?


As a country that has been off limits for the last few years, to what extent were you able to appreciate the landscape? How important was this setting for the novel?
Written in the first person, did you struggle with the language and how did it enable you to appreciate Jaxie’s story?
How much of Jaxie’s relationship with Lee is fantasy?
What do you think Fintan MacGillis’s back story is? Do you think Jaxie was right to trust him?
Fintan and Jaxie are both outcasts. How different and similar are they?
Fintan refers to the land as ‘god’ and believes Jaxie is an ‘instrument of god’. To what extent is this book about finding god and/or an inner peace?
Described as his best book yet, are you keen to read any other titles by Tim Winton?


bottom of page