Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meeting of May 30, ,2016

The book this month was No Relation by Terry Fallis, Linda's choice.  We met at Michèle's new home and she served a fig and walnut dip with vegetables, pear, chèvre and procuitto tarts and a pâté. In honour of Marie Antoinette in the novel, we had a fancy chocolate cake.  Betty, Carla, Colette, Jane, Jolene, Linda and Michèle were present.

The author Terry Fallis is a Canadian from Toronto who was educated as a mechanical engineer but never practiced.  He developed a career as a political strategist working with politicians both at the federal and provincial levels.  He maintained a blog mainly as a political pundit and at one point decided to try his hand writing a novel.  His first novel, The Best Laid Plans, he self-published and it was later picked up and published by McLelland & Stewart. It won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and won the Canada Reads competition in 2011. He has written to date, 5 novels and is presently working on a 6th novel.

Everyone enjoyed this book, the second novel we have read by Terry Fallis.  It is a funny, insightful novel that tells the story of a man who shares his name with the American author Ernest Hemingway, with a slight difference in spelling Earnest Hemmingway.  He forms a self-help group with other persons who have names of famous persons and together they help each other out with their frustrations that come from sharing a name with a well-known person.  A camaraderie and close friendship develops between the members of the group and their experiences make for funny and often poignant situations.  There is also a second story in this novel about Earnest's family business called Hemmingwear that adds to the complexity of the novel.  All agreed that the book was very enjoyable, easy to read and interesting giving us chuckles and out right belly laughs.

Jolene was intrigued by the cover design that has a bear and a person dressed in a bear costume facing each other.  After some discussion we came to the conclusion that it must represent Ernest Hemingway, the American author who was a bit of a bear in stature and look and who apparently had a real bear as a friend and the principle character of this novel Earnest Hemmingway.

Thank you Linda for a great read!


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  2. Terry Fallis has a way of taking ordinary events and twisting them to make you laugh but at the same time make you think. What would it be like to have the same name as someone famous? I was telling my sister Linda about the book (suggesting she read...) and she was saying how difficult it was for her just to have a last name the same as someone famous. Her first marriage gave her the name 'Orr' so she got the 'are you related to Bobby?' and the second marriage gave her 'Toews' and now she gets 'related to Jonathan?' At least now that Jonathan has made his name hockey famous, people no longer have problems understanding that Toews is pronounced 'Taves'. Guess she likely gets those questions more because she lives close to the heart of hockey country. Wonder if the problems would persist if she lived in parts of the US?
    And the same name thing definitely brings to mind the difficulties faced by some of the young children that are currently having difficulty because their names show up on No Fly Lists and the powers that be that can't seem to make it easier for them. The examples that Terry uses in his book make you laugh out loud but put yourself in that same position of having to justify your name/existence over and over and over.
    Good book choice, Linda. - Shirley -


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