Book Club Questions
Pippo & Clara
1. Before you started reading the book, what were your expectations of it. And when you'd finished, were they met?
2. What would you consider the main themes of the book?
3. It was a time of great turmoil in Italy. Are there any aspects you see echoed in our current time.
4. Did you find it easy to switch from one perspective to another? What impact do you think it had on the story?
5. Discuss the female characters in the novel.
6. The city and area remains nameless. How did you feel about this?
7. Did any character, story or section of prose have an emotional impact on you? If so, why?
8. Has Pippo & Clara affected your understanding of Italy during the Mussolini years?
9. By the end, had your opinion changed about any of the characters?
10. Do you like books that have neat and tidy endings? How did you feel when you put Pippo & Clara down?
Alberto's Lost Birthday
1. How did you feel reading Alberto’s Lost Birthday? Were you hooked straight away, or did it take you a while to engage with the story and characters?
2. Describe the main characters of Alberto and Tino and whether/how you related to them.
3. Discuss the plot of Alberto’s Lost Birthday. Was the search for a birthday a good hook and did it keep you engaged throughout?
4. Talk about the book’s structure. Was it easy to follow the story as it flicked back and forth in time? While time travels forward in the present tense, it travels backwards through the war years – do you think this helped the storytelling?
5. How did you feel about different characters telling their own story? Did you notice that the story in the present time was told in third person in the past tense, while the historical characters told their story in first person and the present tense? Did you think this worked?
6. What would you consider the main themes of Alberto’s Lost Birthday? Discuss the theme of identity and whether knowing more about yourself has an impact on who you are.
7. Certain details are echoed in the past and present (for example the chocolate in the bread). Did you find yourself looking for them throughout the book?
8. Did any character, story or section of prose have an emotional impact on you? If so, why?
9. Has Alberto’s Lost Birthday affected your understanding of the Spanish Civil War?
10. How did you feel about the novel’s ending?