Gamache Series Open Discussion

Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Julie Buck says:

    Barbara – thanks for pointing out the link to the reading questions – I hadn’t noticed them there before… so here’s the first one: “The worst was coming. But so was the best. The snow angels were coming,” Gamache reflects in the first chapter. Aside from evoking the chill of November, what expectations do these lines raise about the story to come?

    I barely remember this “snow angels” reference – and a description of the children outside making them. And, of course, I think we’re supposed to think of something more sinister. Angel of Death comes to mind, though I’m not quite sure why – maybe because snow marks the beginning of winter, when the vegetation dies… the circle of life, Hakuna Matata… oh – sorry, slipped into a trough of clichés there… It’s slippery in the winter!

    In general, the idea of making snow angels is a happy, comforting memory of childhood – but I wonder if, by also putting it at the end of the day (I think it was twilight) and “The worst was coming”, we aren’t supposed to be a little frightened of whoever the snow angels are. Beyond that, I’m stumped, but I know you guys will figure it out for me…

  2. Millie says:

    Hello all. It’s been a busy few weeks with birthdays but I get a week’s reprieve before it starts again, so taking advantage of free time to pop in with greetings and just a few comments.

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t bring myself to reread (actually relisten) to TNOTB. At first I thought it was the new narrator, but Julie, you phrased my feelings perfectly. Barbara, I too think this is my new favorite.

    I remembered Notre Dame de Roof Trusses and the Cruelest Month as soon as I saw the name, but didn’t want to stop listening to the book, as I did party prep, to look up the page. Thanks Cathryne for the location. I remember it being a very funny scene I’d like to revisit.

    My take on as why Gamache didn’t tell Beauvoir more… Gamache trusted only Isabelle and Jean-Guy with the information of wanting the four cadets to go to Three Pines. And what does John-Guy do in a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner? He mentions the cadets at ‘the village’, then gives Gamache an apologetic look. Neither Gamache nor Isabelle answer Gelinas questions about what village but try to change the topic.

    That would certainly give me pause to give Jean-Guy more information that could slip out at a most inopportune time. Not out of mistrust or a desire to protect JG, but more because JG has been through a lot and is only weeks away from becoming a father – another life changing experience that distracts the mind. Louise even hints at this when she has JG thinking ‘darn pregnancy’ (as if he was the one pregnant) is causing his discomfort.

    Also, why on Earth would Isabelle take Gelinas to Three Pines so quickly after the cadets and Gamache arrived there. Surely she could have come up with a stall tactic. Then she let’s Gelinas take over the investigation during meetings. Gamache expressly told her she must prevent that. Yet she remains quiet while Gelinas makes accusation after accusation that Gamache is guilty of more and more things. Gelinas is supposed to watch, not take over… I can almost see Gamache coming to the conclusion that perhaps it’s best to keep things close to his vest. I loved the thoughts going through Isabelle’s mind when she meets the mayor: he wasn’t at all as she imagined but then realized Gamache hadn’t described him physically, only his character… It made me realize how much I ‘fill in’ when reading.

    Louise gave me lots of reasons why Gamache acts the way he does in this book… and as Anna said, the exigencies of this story demand it be told as it was. I certainly would not have felt the power of the climactic scene with Brebeuf had Gamache been throwing out hints along the way simply to bring Isabel and JG up to date. But it took days of pondering for me to realize a big theme is “don’t believe everything you think”. So telling the story in a way that keeps the other’s in the dark shows everyone, even RM, thinking the wrong thing…

    All that said, “don’t believe everything I thought.” Just my personal mental ramblings. It’s only what I got from this story and I loved it.

  3. Millie says:

    For me, reference of the worst was coming was a signpost that another struggle for Gamache would be unraveling soon. But the reference of snow angels gave me hope that he would also find goodness and kindness.

  4. Julie Buck says:

    I have just read on Louise’s facebook page that Michael passed away last night. Our Lady of Grief seems very apropos right now.

  5. Millie says:

    Oh no… Im so sorry to hear that. Grief and sorrow.

  6. Love to Louise. We all knew it was close but that is of small comfort. She did all she could to help him to ease that journey.

  7. Anna says:

    I just read Julie’s words. My mouth dropped open and I was shocked. I had no internet at home. I am sitting holding my mothers hand and was quickly catching up on everything. Special poignancy for me in this moment. I have gone quite teary.
    Of course we all send our love to Louise. There is nothing else we can give her.

  8. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Thanks for the information, Julie. I hadn’t seen the post, the news was shared with Louise’s customary warmth and wisdom and generosity in allowing others to offer their support, and their thanks for being allowed to go along on the journey Michael’s illness included.
    I have smiled many times remembering a moment Louise described- as she buttoned Michael’s sweater, he reached out to try to button hers. So sweet and loving.
    Anna, I’m sending best thoughts to you and your mom. Hope, too, that your dad is feeling better and seeing better.

  9. Anna says:

    Thank you Cathryne. I had no internet all day so sorry for the slow response. Thank you for reminding us of those delightful images of Michael.
    I loved what Louise wrote….he gave it all away.

  10. Anna says:

    You might like to read what the CBC wrote on Michael’s passing:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/michael-whitehead-obit-1.3769676

    • Peg H. in Wisconsin USA says:

      Thanks for the link, Anna. What a nice write-up. How sad for Michael’s family to lose both him and his sister Carol so close together.

  11. Anna says:

    Thank you for posting the questions Paul. We will get to them. I am sure you are saddened as we are by Michael’s passing but ever more so as they are people in your life. Thinking of you too at this time.

  12. Anna says:

    Should we respond to the questions on the other page where the questions are to encourage others to join in??

  13. Yes, I think we should. I would like to see some who have posted before join the discussion but they may not come to this site and therefore think we are not discussing AGR.
    I’ll try to post sometime today.

  14. Julie Buck says:

    Anna – I can imagine the myriad of feelings rushing in as you heard this news and being with your mother at the time… knowing you will soon be going away from her, but also that she is on her own journey away from you… Life is short, and seeing someone like Louise live it with such amazing grace (to coin a phrase) is very inspiring. I am in awe of how she can share so much with her fans, and I feel honored to be one of them.

    I think we should talk on the other page as well – I hadn’t thought of that – good brain on you, girl!

  15. I answered question # 4 and lost it before I could post. The next sound you hear will be me screaming.

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