Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

Still Life Postcard
“Here in Quebec. Finally started writing. I think I’ll call it STILL LIFE. What do you think? Struggling a bit with fear but inspired by the fall colours. ”
AN EXCERPT FROM STILL LIFE

Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map, being too far off any main or even secondary road. Like Narnia, it was generally found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in this valley all along. Anyone fortunate enough to find it once usually found their way back. And Thanksgiving, in early October, was the perfect time. The weather was usually crisp and clear, the summer scents of old garden roses and phlox were replaced by musky autumn leaves, woodsmoke and roast turkey.

Three huge pine trees faced [Gamache] at the far end of the green. Between him and them was a pond, a bunch of sweater-clad children circling it, hunting for frogs, he supposed. The village green sat, not surprisingly, in the center of the village, a road called The Commons circling it with homes, except behind him, which seemed to be the commercial district. It was a very short commercial. It consisted, as far as Gamache could see, of a depanneur whose Pepsi sign read ‘Beliveau’. Beside that was a boulangerie, the Bistro and a bookstore. Four roads led off The Commons, like the spokes of a wheel, or the directions of a compass.

As he sat quietly and let the village happen around him he was impressed by how beautiful it was, these old homes facing the green, with their mature perennial gardens and trees. By how natural everything looked, undesigned. And the pall of grief that settled on this little community was worn with dignity and sadness and a certain familiarity. This village was old, and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

  1. I have read your whole series twice and am thinking of starting it again. Three Pines is my “go to” place whenever my world feels out of place. Thank you for starting this series with postcards.

  2. INGA LAVOIE says:

    Spent many a wonderful day with family at Knowltons Landing and surroundings in the ’70’s. Brings back so many good memories and reflections of wonderous places. Have to get back! Thank you for sharing your storytelling gift, making places and people come to life.

  3. Silvia Fornataro says:

    I have loved these stories since the beginning..reading them over again,and I thank you Louise Penney for your truly inspired writing..sharing postcards are a gift to all of us..I really do want to live in Three Pines..I’m eccentric enuff to fit in

  4. Jim Bartley says:

    I am currently re-reading the entire series for the fourth time. This time, instead of opening my books, I am borrowing the talking book versions through our library system. Every time the magic re-appears and I discover another leaf in the forest that I might have overlooked before. I am off to pick up The Brutal Telling, told so eloquently by the very talented (and very missed) Ralph Cosham.

  5. Teri Hepplewhite says:

    Descriptions are wonderful…can’t wait to go back there with the new book…miss my friends!

  6. Jacqueline Avery says:

    What a terrific idea! That’s a gorgeous view!

    I am currently re-reading Still Life (3rd time). And still, I discover more details and nuances that I missed the during my first two reads.

  7. Carol Davis says:

    I’m READY to read more and soak in the feelings associated with Three Pines and the residents. Thank you, Louise, for extending the invitation to be part of your inner adventures.

  8. Nancy V says:

    Lovely, but deadly. A bit like Midsummer in England. Beneath the cozy sweaters and solid shoes lies the heart of a killer Can’t wait !!!

  9. Jim Katz says:

    You sure you want to move here? The murder rate is high and every year your friends reveal new aspects to their personalities and histories.

  10. Christine B. says:

    Three Pines IS a real place, if only in the minds of Louise Penny and all her avid readers. It isn’t that much of a leap to imagine a replica built somewhere in the townships, populated by Quebecois actors playing the parts of the locals. Quebec Tourism could make this a viable project with, of course, Penny herself as Creative Consultant. ;)

  11. claudia b says:

    OH my goodness. Already wonderful. I am transported.

  12. Nan Clarke says:

    I would move to Three Pines except I don’t like snow. Too sad for me.

  13. Mary Patton says:

    Such an ideal setting! How could anyone not fall in love with such a beautiful place.

  14. Wendy Loker says:

    I have recently retired from active career and social life in a large city. We are now living in a small rural community on a beautiful lake surrounded by old Pines. As I read the whole Gamache series last year I longed for that sense of community. I now have that. It’s possible folks to still live in Three Pines!

  15. Marie-Claude S. Coates says:

    Beautiful.
    Being from Granby, Quebec, This is my turf, and I know The three pines, I just close my eyes and I can smell them. It is like being home.
    Thank you, Already reserved the next book.

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