What would it be like to have a really tall brother?
Guess when I was smaller, I considered my brother a giant. He was practically a six-footer then. I believe he’s way past that mark now. But I don’t see him as a giant any more because I too have grown—but that doesn’t make me any taller than he is.
Do I sound like I have height issues? I couldn’t be sure.
Surely I have a number of friends who shot beyond the average Filipino height. And they too aren’t giants. But there is one particular friend who appears so incredibly tall, I really have to glance up to get a look at his face. But some ten years back we were of the same height. How people grow.
And height is a great element in Tall Story. Although you don’t get much of the specifics, somehow you still get a clear picture of how tall (and short) people are in the story. And it helps that the illustrations emphasize that.
Height aside, it’s a really good read. It has pieces of folklore, which I really love. And thanks to this book, I had to recall with effort who Bernardo Carpio is. And as it touches on the magical, so does it with the modern and the miraculous.
I love how Gourlay juxtaposes two worlds: Andi’s and Bernardo’s. One of the city: current, clamorous, and changing. The other of the province: peaceful, paced, and practiced, especially in surviving earthquakes. And how she moves those two worlds closer and tighter until it reaches critical mass followed by something explosive, it’s almost unbelievable. (But with the current news, it’s not that hard to imagine anymore.)
One other thing I love about this book is that it serves as a good comparison for British English and American English. You don’t see that a lot. And it was fun reading and seeing the differences between the two versions of the same language.
Just before I closed the book at the end—remembering that I saw the trailer of this book—I thought what it would sound like as an audio book read by genuine London girl and a Filipino boy, both with the most authentic accents. I think it sounds fun!
Oh, and great thanks to Chachic who recommended this book to me.