Erin Kernohan-Berning: Hello, I’m Erin Kernohan-Berning from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.
The Toronto International Film Festival was founded in 1976 and has since become one – if not THE – most influential film festival in the world. With it’s ability to generate Oscar buzz and drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees every year, TIFF is the place to be for films and film lovers alike. TIFF’s 2016 season boasted 20 books that made the transition to film. Here on Library Moments we’re always fascinated with how the book translates to the big screen, so today Bessie Sullivan and I will discuss a book that was featured in film-form at TIFF.
Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is also attributed to Siobhan Dowd who died before she could finish it. Ness states, “she had the characters, a premise, and a beginning. What she didn’t have unfortunately, was time.” Made into a movie that showed at TIFF this year, starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, and Felicity Jones this is an adaptation of the award winning children’s book about a lonely young boy struggling with the imminent death of his terminally ill mother. He is befriended by a friendly but still scary tree-like monster that arrives in his room nightly to tell him stories.
Both the book and the movie bring fantasy and reality together for an exceptionally moving experience. Although classified as a children’s book, the topic is intense and when I listened to this on audiobook there were two full grown adults in the car in tears, me included. While I wouldn’t prevent children from seeing or reading A Monster Calls, it is important to keep in mind that it isn’t a Disney movie and parental prepping is necessary.
Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: If you have seen the movie trailer for Arrival starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, you may think it is just another Hollywood alien flick. But the film, from the award winning director of Sicario French-Canadian Denis Villeneuve, is based on the short story The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. The basic plot of the movie is that alien ships have appeared in a variety of locations on Earth, and the occupants within are so different from humans physically, mentally, and linguistically that it seems almost certain that a war will erupt without some way to communicate clearly between the two species. Enter linguist Louise Parker who is tasked with learning the alien language while governments all over the globe jockey for power, broker alliances, burn bridges, and determinedly shuffle down a path towards the worst possible outcome. Arrival has been lauded as a thinking person’s sci fi blockbuster, touching on global politics, prejudice, and the treachery of language to communicate our true intentions. One part of the original story that critics indicate has not quite survived the transition from page to screen is the toll that learning the alien language takes on Parker. Fans of the original short story point to the grammatical quirks Chiang uses to show Parker’s mental transformation as her linear perception of time gives way to something closer to how the aliens perceive things.
The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang can be found in his short story collection The Stories of Your Life and Others. We have just ordered the short story collection in print, but we also have it in e-book available through Overdrive.
Whether you experience the book before the movie or the movie before the book, amazing stories come in many forms and these will no doubt land on our shelves in DVD format eventually. And don’t forget, we have a little taste of TIFF in Haliburton County with Those Other Movies, part of the TIFF Film Circuit. That’s it for this week’s episode of Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 CanoeFM.
*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, October 9 – 15, 2016.