The Annotated Three Pines – A Great Reckoning

From Pg. 26
Professor Leduc moved his left arm, so that his wrist felt the butt of the handgun through his jacket. As he did that, he lifted his right hand and shook Gamache’s. Holding the man’s hand and his eyes. Both of which were steady, and displayed neither anger nor challenge. It was, Leduc realized, far more threatening than any overt show of force could ever be.

Louise’s Thoughts:
I really liked taking Gamache out of his regular job and placing him in the Academy. Who better to clean it up than someone who is by nature a teacher? I was lucky to have a few teachers, and professors, as I bumbled my way through school, who were thoughtful and patient. Who saw the big picture, the whole person. I also had some bullies, and that was equally instructive.

From Pg. 53
The poetry book had joined the others hidden under there. Books in Latin and Greek. Poetry books and philosophy books. She’d taught herself the dead languages, and memorized poetry. Among the filth. Shutting out the sounds of sex, the mutterings and shouts and screams of other boarders. The flushing toilets and obscenities and stench. All erased by poetry.

Louise’s Thoughts:
We all, I think, have something we cling to when times get tough. Prayers. Songs. Mantras. For me it’s a combination of prayer and poetry. Both calming. Centering. I wanted to write Amelia as a soul who’d lost her bearings, but not her way. She’s still looking for the path. The way “home”. The books she loves, the works she loves, are a sort of compass. I also wanted her to be an autodidact. Someone who clings to beauty, who doesn’t give in to the despair all around her. And yet is cynical, self-destructive, angry, bitter. But who, when a hand is stretched out, takes it. Now this is a person to be reckoned with. As Gamache recognizes.

From Pg. 31
Gamache had laughed. “I wish it was a mountain. At least they’re majestic. Conquering them brings some sense of triumph. The Sûreté Academy is more like a great big hole filled with merde. And I’ve fallen into it.”
“Fallen, patron? As I remember it, you jumped.”

Louise’s Thoughts:
Ha…it was so fun writing Gamache in the Academy. Seeing him in academae. Surrounded by students. Not all of them well-adjusted. And needing to have a firm grip on the professors. Gamache thinks he knows what, as Beauvoir put it, he’s jumped into. But he actually has no idea. I’d like to say I knew exactly what he would do, how he’d handle it, when he found out. But the fact is, I didn’t. What I knew was the man’s character, but I wanted to just see…. by this point in the series, while I know the characters (actually I think of them as people, not characters), well, I can still be surprised. I wanted to see what would happen when the full horror of what he’d gotten himself into began to dawn on him. And when it did, what he would do about it. Merde does not begin to describe the tragedy that was the Surete breeding ground.

From Pg. 161
The village had lulled him, however briefly, into forgetting that terrible things happened. He wondered if it was a gift, to forget however briefly, or a curse.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Three Pines will always be a refuge, for Gamache. For all the villagers. Not from pain, as long as we’re human that is inevitable. And few are more human than Gamache. But it’s a refuge from despair. Because as bad as things get, the villagers know they’re not alone. That’s the key, isn’t it? Having a place of peace. A quiet place in the bright sunshine. However briefly. Before it’s back to the trenches of life. But they take Three Pines with them in their hearts. As do I. As do you.

From Pg. 40
Yes, a snowman, however jolly, must have worry in his heart. As did the work of art. Or map. Or whatever it was they’d found in the wall.
Love and worry. They went hand in hand. Fellow travelers.

Louise’s Thoughts:
I don’t know about you, but I worry about the people I love. All the time. It’s not front and centre, more like a hum in the background. Spiking now and then, and never completely off. The wages of love. The cost of caring. The map in the wall aches with that. With love and worry. The cheerful snowman on the map, who nevertheless knows the sun will come out. Spring will arrive. What Gabri and Olivier found in the wall of the bistro was a map home. So that whoever had it would know, there was a way back. To a place where they were safe. And where they could forget, however briefly, the horrors of the outside world.

Discussion on “The Annotated Three Pines – A Great Reckoning

  1. Maradel Sager says:

    Thank you again Louise for all your special thoughts on writing process….it is so great to get inside your creative brain for just a second…you are so kind to your readers

  2. I see that what make’s Louise a great writer is how she thinks, and equally important is how she feels about how she thinks.
    I love the captions that she writes, they do not sound any different than the novels she painstakingly writes.
    It is so easy to fall in love with her characters; but the fact is I am in literary love with Louise as much as I am with the fantasy of Three Pines.
    It takes a remarkable person to write a remarkable book.
    So glad to have found Three Pines & Knowlton

    • Gerry Kee-Chaston says:

      I have also become captivated by Louise, the writer. I have just returned from a tour of the Eastern Townships which included visits to the various sites Louise fictionalized in her novels. This gave further insight into Louise the person and the author.
      Her books bear re-reading any number of times as there is so much depth in her characters and she describes their pain and their joy with great sensitivity.
      Louise has brought me great joy.

    • Connie Cooke says:

      I love this comment. I, too, have a great love for Gamache and all the inhabitants of Three Pines. But also, I would love to meet Louise in person and give her a hug, for all the pleasure she has given me as well as her other faithful readers.

  3. Sandy Didner says:

    Since I will be discussing Kingdom of the Blind in my book discussion group, could you annotate that novel. I flew from Florida to Raleigh to thank you for allowing me to copy a sentence from A Beautiful Mystery. It was marvelous to listen to your talk and speak with you afterwards.

    Sandy Didner

  4. Ruth Puckett says:

    I am very blessed. I live in my own house with my son who is also my caregiver (and chef). We have made our home a refuge for two somewhat introverted people who work very well blending out lives. We do have a circle of friends that we also depend on but it is amazing to feel how special it is to just come home to my refuge after work each day. My little piece of Three Pines a very long way from Quebec! Thanks so much, Louise, for sharing with us these concepts and shelters.

  5. Ann Zeigler says:

    THANK YOU for this series of your thoughts and feelings as you wrote. You have the gift of enabling us to feel as family- as a dear friend.
    I doubt I shall ever meet you (drat) and yet I sense we do know one another
    For me it’s the similarity of our husbands. Two Michaels, both Doctors, and both having suffered a ALZ. That’s just me. Think of the thousands of others who feel close to you WHAT A BLESSED GIFT.
    This series brought you closer to us. THANK YOU.

  6. I, too, think of the people in your books as real, not characters! And, I had teachers who inspired me to become a teacher! Some also “taught” me what I wanted to avoid as a teacher. I did have the pleasure of meeting you, and felt the warmth that comes through in your books!

  7. Mary Pat Murphy says:

    As I sit looking out on a beautiful lake, I’m reflecting on Louise’s comment that we all need a place of peace in the quiet sunshine. This is mine, with my own three pine trees standing sentinel in front of me. I’m in Montana, a long way from Louise’s three pines but happy in my own. Thanks be to God! Looking forward to A Better Man.

  8. Susan Bunk says:

    I love reading these books. They people come alive and I look forward to the next one. Three Pines is a place I’d dream of living .

  9. Karen I Ford says:

    This has been a really enlightening journey with Louise and her thoughts behind each novel.
    We all need a place of peace, refuge, that place – real or unreal – where we feel safe and secure. Reading this book, we really saw how Three Pines was that place of refuge for Armand.

  10. Jo Wade says:

    I really like the thoughts that go with the quotes and how the stories unfold A map home is something we all hold in our inner self.

  11. Wendy Loker says:

    Your books were a comfort as I moved to a small town in Maine. Living on a peaceful lake brings me that “Three Pines” experience when I come back from being away.
    Similarly, our unique neighbors and little village commons, never change too much.
    Your writing has captured that feeling of being “home” perfectly. Thank You!

  12. Sybil Nassau says:

    When I can’t get to my refuge- Long Island Sound (southern CT), my second most favorite place is Three Pines. This is where I get lost in whatever story is spinning out in front of me and find peace in the people having breakfast or a glass of wine at the Bistro. Thank you for the best and most rewarding reading I have ever devoured in 70 some years of reading… just realized the only other author I liked was Willa Cather!

  13. Pam Greaney says:

    Each time I read one of your annotations, I become more, not less inquisitive, of that particular novel. Truly out of a sense of wonder at your “ written”word .. your style. And I grow to love “Three Pines” more. All of the Eastern Townships are beloved by my family … has been thus since we discovered it in our young married days. We continue to drive thru various areas as we travel roads from Montreal to Maine. As I age, your novels make it a refuge of sorts, peopled by your characters. Out of your imagination into mine has been a glorious experience. Oddly in the vast world that we have lived and traveled in, Three Pines is as real and exotic as any place I know.

  14. Susie Scoppa says:

    I just finished this book again. Each time I reread a book, I think “How did I miss that?” You develop your characters so well. I learn something exciting about my Three Pines friends each time I reread. Thank you for the fun!

  15. Ann Javoroski says:

    Thank you for these insights. I have just finished reading (and often re-reading) the whole series in order. I love the way the main characters stay in character even when having to make difficult choices. I also love the way their dialog sometimes makes me laugh out loud. Such good writing!

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