Tall Story Face to Face Book Discussion Details:
- Date: August 31, 2013
- Place: Sophie’s Mom, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
- Time: 2 PM to 6 PM
- Discussion Leader: Biena
- Attendees: Me, Aaron, Alexa, Ayban, Billy, Cary, Clai, Ella, JL, Louize, Monique, Patrick, Phoebe, Ranee, Sheryl, Tina, Veronica, Zim (newbie)
- Food I Ate: Hot choco and velvet cake, courtesy of Biena, and apple juice
- Post-discussion Activity: Sharing of photos and stories about one’s siblings.
- After the Book Discussion: Dinner at the nearby B & T Mexican Kitchen, then hang out at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – Emerald. I know, the two places aren’t in the same city.
- Other Nominated Books: Ermita by F. Sionil Jose and Naermyth by Karen Francisco
Thoughts from the Members:
A lovely, heart-warming story about a boy from the province who ends up coming home to his family in London. I love how it breathes of provincial superstitions and modern living. The myth of Bernardo Carpio takes a special place in these pages, while family love is featured heavily next to basketball point guards. The dialogue is very believable, and the characters are presented well. Lovely storytelling, and a great story that moves mountains- almost literally.
7. It has an element of Filipino folklore. We strongly believe in superstitions and sometimes science can support it. Not bad. Candy made a strong argument on how Bernardo is a hero and a victim of tumour.
How Candy Gourlay reflected Filipino family virtues through the characters was really nice. Andi’s disdain for his brother was not prolonged, and so did Nardo’s despair. The common destroyers (sibling rivalry, parent-child separation, overworked parents) of a family was kept at a minimum, thereby keeping the lightness of the story intact.
The various aspects of everyday life, colorful characters and infusion of cultures therefore make Tall Story a very interesting and fun read. The writing was simple and straightforward, even offering translations and/or explanations that would account for the diversity in language between the two countries involved. I could not think of a single character that wasn’t likeable or real – even Mad Nena and her daughter Gabriela were perfectly-portrayed “villains” who everyone is justified to hate – or laugh at, perhaps? Bernardo’s gentle giant demeanor and inner conflicts will tug at the heartstrings, to which Andi’s seeming impertinence and stubbornness are a complement.
The presentation of the story as chapters to each of their thoughts amuses me. It was a front row view on their insights. You learn the joy in Bernardo’s smile and comprehend Andi’s smirk. You feel Bernardo’s qualms of being in a foreign land and sense the spirited replies of Andi because she wanted to prove her point. And it was in this context that you find that they were not mere strangers to each other’s life because distance cannot break the unspoken bond between siblings.
Candy Gourlay certainly knew her stuff, having lived in and been immersed in two different cultures, and she knows how to write a good older brother-younger sister relationship–despite not having an older brother (although she had an older sister and some younger brothers). Tall Story is a poignant, heartwarming story of clashing cultures, of family and sibling love, with just the right amount of magic, tears and laughter. This is one story that everyone, whether British, Filipino or otherwise, would not regret having read.
My thoughts to follow.
Photos courtesy of Ella.