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. Carol May says:

    I too am working my way through the series again- I miss the people ( no longer characters) when I stop reading! I’ve ordered the next book in hardback, couldn’t wait for another year!

  2. Jane Callahan says:

    Louise –
    I can’t thank you enough. You have added such a beautiful dimension to my life with your books. I love the characters and can’t wait to see what they’ll say or do next. I thoroughly love your books and eagerly await each new release!
    Jane

  3. Mary E says:

    I love this little series and the next book can’t come soon enough for me! I’m at the point where I don’t care that much who did the murders – I’m more interested in how the normal characters are evolving.

  4. Judith Foley says:

    I can’t think of anyone in Three Pins as imaginary characters, but life and blood friends who care about each other!

  5. Jana Nazari says:

    Yes, we take Three Pines with us in our .

  6. Mollie Hauser says:

    I lost my husband in 2018 and I read and re-read Gamache to fill the lonely hours. Ms. Penny’s books bring great comfort. Thank you so much. My husband and I visited Montreal and Quebec City and I can picture the places to which she refers. Heartache, but joy that we were there.

  7. Alice Briggs says:

    I’m about halfway through rereading the Gamache series. I love the balance of his job with his love of poetry and art. He is an example of how a wide range of experiences can temper our reactions. His emphasis on listening his key to success. I love Gamache and all of the characters in the Three Pines orbit!

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