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ICE Breakers



Had anyone in your group read Robert Browning's poem, 'The Last Duchess'? How did this and Renaissance art affect your reading of ‘The Marriage Portrait’?
Are there other famous portraits, old or recent, that have caught your eye and did you enjoy O'Farrell's depiction of 'The Marriage Portrait'?
How did knowing Lucrezia's fate affect your reading?
Do you think Lucrezia could have escaped and did you want a different ending?
Maggie O’Farrell wrote ‘The Marriage Portrait’ during lock down. If circumstances were different would this have been a different story?
How does this novel compare to O' Farrell's award winning 'Hamnet'? Which novel did you enjoy more?



The matter of a virus probably feels very fresh to many book clubbers. What do you think Roth was trying to question?
Why do you think Roth chose to write this book in 2010?
How much did you know about polio and its crippling affects on children?
‘He never knows where his responsibilities end’. Do you think Bucky was right to feel concerned and does this resonate with you and the recent pandemic?
Did you empathise with Bucky? And was Marcia a good match for Bucky?
Was Bucky’s fate inevitable as the book’s title suggested or could he have reversed the outcome of his future?
Did Bucky’s own family make you question or reassess those less fortunate?


Had you heard of Operation Mincemeat before reading this book and how much did this enlighten you about spy missions in WWII?
Did you enjoy the depiction of the extraordinary characters and the level of detail undertaken to ensure a successful outcome?
The spies approached the mission as if they were writing a novel. To what extent do you think this typifies spy operations at this time?
The body brought to shore is identified as Major William Martin of the Royal Marines. Were you surprised by the work undertaken behind the operation to find the corpse?
Did any of you in the club see the film starring Colin Firth? How did this compare with the book?


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