The Annotated Three Pines – Bury Your Dead

From Pg. 5
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, Émile remembered the quote as he remembered those days. Yes, he thought, that described it. Chasmed fears. Both their own, and the murderers. Across tables across the province he and Gamache had sat. Just like this.

Louise’s Thoughts:
The Hound of Heaven. I remember when my mother gave me the tiny booklet with the green cover and told me it was one of her favourite poems. I’d just finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and for some reason thought it was the same story, in verse. It is not. The Hound of Heaven quickly became one of my favourite poems, to the extent that I memorized it. I suspect I loved it because it described my relationship to God, at that time. Believing, but afraid of what God might ask of me. It’s that same sort of tension that I try to bring to the books. Especially, perhaps, Bury Your Dead. The struggle to believe, to trust, to give up, in the face of terrible reasons not to. To face those chasmed fears. In my life. In Gamache’s. In yours.

From Pg. 14
Closing his eyes he breathed deeply, smelling the musky scents of the library. Of age, of stability, of calm and peace. Of old- fashioned polish, of wood, of words bound in worn leather.

Louise’s Thoughts:
So interesting to read this, and realize that the sense of smell has been a theme throughout the books. In fact, it plays a part in the one I’m just writing now. So evocative, no? How quickly not just memories, but feelings, come back. We’re transported body and soul, to another place. Like Armand, and probably like you, I cherish the smell of books. Opening one and smelling that distinctive scent. And then, put hundreds, thousands, together in an old library, and what do you have? A haven. Exactly what Armand needs.

From Pg. 28
Though these days he was never alone. He longed for it, for blessed solitude. Avec le temps, Émile had said. With time. And maybe he was right. His strength was coming back, why not his sanity?

Louise’s Thoughts:
I suspect anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows how Armand is feeling. Of being haunted. Of both wanting that ghostly companionship, but also longing to move forward. Out of crushing grief. The attachment here is with a barb. This memory, this boy, is connected to Armand, without respite. Both a companion and an accusation.

From Pg. 92
All the images he kept locked away during the day he let out at night. He had to. He’d tried to keep them in, behind the groaning door but they’d pounded and pressed, hammering away until he had no choice.

Louise’s Thoughts:
It was difficult to write about PTSD. To try to get into the mind of someone who’d suffered. Who’d survived when those he was responsible for did not. And that the conscious mind could only control so much, and so long. Before it broke. But then, as we know, it’s how the light gets in.

From Pg. 192
In my line of work you grow suspicious of coincidences. They happen, but not often. And when you see one you ask questions.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Honestly, I try not to deal in coincidences. Seems far to facile, too cliched. But when I do, it is done very carefully, very consciously. I hope, in this case, it works.

Discussion on “The Annotated Three Pines – Bury Your Dead

  1. Jeanette Kibler says:

    Love the Hound of Heaven backstory and the library–a quote from my very favorite 19th century author, George MacDonald: The familiar faces of my books welcomed me. I threw myself into my reading chair and gazed around me with pleasure. All my old friends present—there in spirit, ready to talk with me any moment when I was in the mood, making no claim upon my attention when I was not.

  2. Marlene Rikard says:

    I was enrolled in a Road Scholar program featuring Quebec and this book was on the suggested reading list for the trip. It was my introduction to Louise Penny and the series. In Quebec, I visited the library and even was allowed to peek into the cellar. This discussion has inspired me to reread what is my favorite book of one of my favorite authors.

  3. Barbara Whittemore says:

    I just finished re-reading this book. It was even better this time. So poignant since I know the past and the future, of Beauvoir in particular.
    The return to the Olivier case and the surprise of the real murderer was inspired. The embodiment of “I was wrong.”

  4. Amy says:

    You gave me a gift of Gamache. I adore the Three Pines town and characters, the insights, poetry, locations and history infused with a mystery. These layers make me addicted to your books, as I have gotten to learn so much from you, the gardens in Scotland, the crater park in canada, towns, castles, the quints, and the winters Ive never seen as Im a Florida gal. I love looking up all the cool things you introduce me too. A story within a story. Thank you!

  5. Ann Holtzclaw says:

    My idea of “Heaven” as always been my favorite reading chair. Unlimited inventory of books. And a few cats.

  6. Bonnie Rick says:

    I put off reading this installment for unconscious reasons. But now I know why.
    The quote from page 5 and your Thoughts, still has me in tears. It’s coming up on the anniversary of losing half my family…
    And I am struggling greatly with doing everyday tasks let alone the latest barrage of caretaking of an elderly parent.
    Our memories alone are frequently hard enough, but add in all our senses, and it can be either a breaking point, or, hopefully, with time, the gift that keeps on giving.
    This Annotation was the most powerful one yet. I hopefully will be able to revisit it in the future.
    Thank you for helping me understand what I am experiencing!

  7. Roberta Lee Gerber says:

    A story is the passage of wisdom without which life is bereft of vitality and worth and humanity. All Louise Penny’s stories envelop one, allowing one’s self to enter a magical place where love and joy and sadness and pain and humility and hate and god and godlessness and every aspect of being are presented in the best of story-telling fashion, where a word is key to a library of existence in a universe in need. The characters, all, greet one with a sense of value and a beauty of difference. Her words are music and echoes, providing inspiration for everyone’s journey, finding magnificence in others and love and patience to learn kindness and acceptance.

  8. Karen Lewis says:

    So enjoyable reading your comments but also reading comments from the readers!

  9. Anne Dunham says:

    I’m absolutely loving these reflections on the books! Thanks, Louise.

  10. Deb Hendrickson says:

    The introduction to this book has very meaningful thoughts and words. I wish it was on the audio version of Bury Your Desd.

  11. Penny Boyle says:

    How wonderful to share a love of books, of reading. I live in Australia and I have no idea where these lovely people live but I feel an instant bond and affection for whoever or wherever they are.

    I love the scent of old books and new, the feel of the paper, the excitement of the first page and the sadness at the last. A bit like say “Bon Voyage” to an old friend.

    Thank you for your wonderful writing, I really hope you know how much your books touch us.

  12. Gabrielle Dennis says:

    I agree Bury your dead is my favourite book so far. A friend suggested Louise Penny as a great author and said to start from the beginning which, by haunting my local library, I did. However, it wasn’t long that I decided to get my own copies! I have now re-read them all and will be doing so again as there is always something you miss. The relationships between the characters is so very deep AND caring. Thank you Penny for such riveting, moving and interesting novels. Only a month to go for the next!

  13. Gloria Young says:

    You brought back a memory of my childhood library. I lived in Dallas, Texas and the nearest library was a bus ride away. I loved the library. It was old fashioned with high brown wooden bookcases. You had to walk upstairs to get to it. The children’s books were downstairs, which involved walking outside around the building to the side and down a few steps. In the summer it was always cooler down there and I remember the smell when you entered. It was always comforting.

  14. Li Anderson says:

    Just now taking the time to savor The Annotated Three Pines, and enjoying the dialogue so much! I have loved books for so long, the smell and feel of them. Now I have some arthritis in my hands, and find a Kindle so much less painful to hold, or to prop up in it’s cover. I also rig it up to lean slanted on a bean-bag type pillow on top of the opened drawer of my nightstand. That way I can read curled up on my side, and when I fall asleep, it goes dark, and doesn’t fall to the floor and wake me up!

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