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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Crooked Heart" by Lissa Evans

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Crooked Heart" by Lissa Evans

  1. Character Exploration:

    • Analyze the characters of Noel Bostock and Vee Sedge. How do their backgrounds and experiences shape their personalities and actions throughout the novel?
    • Discuss the dynamics of the relationship between Noel and Vee. How does their unlikely partnership evolve over the course of the story, and what do they learn from each other?
    • Explore the supporting characters in the novel, such as Mattie and Winnie, as well as the residents of St. Albans. How do these characters contribute to the overall atmosphere and themes of the book?
  2. Themes and Motifs:

    • Discuss the theme of resilience in "Crooked Heart." How do Noel and Vee, as well as other characters, demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity and uncertainty during wartime?
    • Analyze the motif of deception and survival. How do characters like Vee and Noel navigate the moral complexities of their actions, including their involvement in various schemes and cons?
    • Explore the theme of community and belonging. How does the war and its aftermath affect the sense of community among the characters, and how do they find support and connection in unexpected places?
  3. Historical Context:

    • Explore the portrayal of England during World War II in the novel. How does Lissa Evans depict the everyday realities of wartime life, including rationing, air raids, and evacuations?
    • Discuss the impact of the war on the characters' lives and relationships. How does the war shape their experiences and decisions, both during and after the conflict?
  4. Narrative Techniques:

    • Discuss the use of humor in "Crooked Heart." How does Lissa Evans balance humor with more serious themes and events, and what effect does this have on the reader's experience of the story?
    • Analyze the novel's structure, including its use of alternating perspectives and timelines. How does this narrative structure enhance the reader's understanding of the characters and their motivations?
  5. Social and Ethical Questions:

    • Explore the ethical implications of Vee and Noel's various schemes and cons. How do they justify their actions, and what moral dilemmas do they face?
    • Discuss the novel's exploration of social class and inequality. How do characters from different social backgrounds interact, and how does their socioeconomic status affect their opportunities and experiences?
  6. Reader Response and Interpretation:

    • Reflect on your emotional response to the novel. What aspects of the story resonated with you, and why?
    • Consider the novel's ending and the characters' fates. Did the resolution of the story meet your expectations, or were you surprised by the outcome?

Lissa Evans is a British author known for her works of fiction, particularly her novels and children's books. Here's a brief biography of her life:

  1. Early Life and Education:

    • Lissa Evans was born in 1962 in Malvern, Worcestershire, England.
    • She attended the University of Sheffield, where she studied politics and modern history.
  2. Career Beginnings:

    • Evans started her career in the television industry, working as a producer and director for various programs, including comedy and children's shows.
    • During her time in television, she worked on popular British TV series such as "Father Ted" and "Have I Got News for You."
  3. Transition to Writing:

    • Evans made a transition to writing in the late 1990s. She began writing for newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian and The Sunday Times, contributing articles and columns.
    • She also wrote for radio and contributed to BBC Radio 4 comedy series.
  4. Literary Career:

    • Evans made her literary debut with the publication of her first novel, "Spencer's List," in 2002. The novel received critical acclaim for its wit and humor.
    • She continued to write novels for adults, including "Odd One Out" (2008), "Their Finest Hour and a Half" (2009), "Crooked Heart" (2014), and "Old Baggage" (2018). Many of her novels are known for their humorous and insightful exploration of human relationships and quirks.
    • In addition to novels, Evans has also written children's books, including "Small Change for Stuart" (2011), which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and its sequels.
  5. Recognition and Awards:

    • Lissa Evans' works have received critical acclaim and have been nominated for various awards. "Their Finest Hour and a Half" was adapted into a film titled "Their Finest" in 2017, directed by Lone Scherfig and starring Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy.
    • Her novels have been praised for their humor, warmth, and engaging storytelling.
  6. Personal Life:

    • Not much is publicly known about Lissa Evans' personal life, as she tends to keep her private life separate from her professional career.
    • She currently resides in London, England, where she continues to write and work on various projects.
  7. Legacy:

    • Lissa Evans is regarded as a talented and versatile writer known for her ability to blend humor with insightful commentary on human nature and relationships. Her novels and children's books have earned her a loyal readership and critical acclaim in the literary world.

Lissa Evans' contributions to literature, both for adults and children, continue to entertain and resonate with readers, cementing her place as a respected author in the contemporary literary landscape.


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