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 says:

    Millie – several of the things you said really startled me. First of all – that you could do such damage to your hip simply by always walking the same way on a slanted floor – it makes sense in retrospect, but I’d never have thought it. Here’s where I get to use one of my favorite words – I’m gobsmacked!

    “I started to love TLWH from the beginning because Gamache had to do his ‘physio’ too. It did strike me odd tho that he has no more trouble walking once out of Three Pines…” – I hadn’t thought of that at all – and they walked all around that little town, and at the end, to the top of the hill to find where Peter was, at Norman’s cabin. He was doing well, but I wouldn’t have thought it was that well, hahaha (I constantly get Norman and Massey mixed up, because I have it firmly planted in my brain – “Massey good” “Norman no-good”! Have had to go back and correct a lot – so if I get them mixed up somewhere in here, I mean the other way around…

    “And I was really surprised that Jean Guy was going to AA meetings! I thought he was only addicted to the pills…” – I think that a lot of addicts stay away from alcohol and go to AA meetings, because alcohol becomes a trigger for other things. It IS a drug in lots of ways, and I think it’s just safer for him to stay away from everything. My step-daughter is an addict and goes to NA, but also to AA – I think the “original” is a good place for people to learn the basics. And, of course, LP might have simply meant a “12-step program” and AA meetings becomes like “Kleenex”, or “Coke” – it’s what you call everything of a kind.

    “I must admit my jaw dropped when I would read that the inspectors were having a beer at lunch while ‘on duty’. Is this OK in Canada or just the world of Three Pines?” – I was surprised about that, too. I think regular police officers (in uniform) would be in big trouble in Canada if they drank on duty – but this is the first I ever heard of any police doing that. It may stem from the French idea that even children drink wine at meals… but I think if something bad happened, it could be a big problem.

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Hi Julie, I hadn’t thought about the police having a beer with their lunch – I didn’t even notice it. These, of course, are not regular policemen on a beat, but solving crimes after the fact. They don’t drink enough to get drunk, but still it is surprising.

      • Julie, with reference to the detectives having a beer with lunch; my grandpa always had a beer with lunch and another with dinner. He said “It’s food. Made with grain and puts hair on your chest.” I was well past legal drinking age before I had my first beer!
        My husband and I spent 4 years in Europe with the RCAF in the early 60’s and found the practice of having a glass of wine with dinner to be very pleasant. In our early 80’s now and it’s still very nice!
        Anna, you will love the Three Pines mugs! We’ve had ours for years and are wonderful for cafe’ au lait and hot chocolate. I sit in front of the fire with mine and pretend i’m In the bistro.

  2. Millie says:

    Hi Julie, glad you like the idea of always adding a comment / reply at the bottom and referencing either Person / time post or just the comment.

    With regards to walking on a slanted ‘floor’, obviously it didn’t occur to me either. :-/ But I was told it’s a common problem with runners or people who walk outside. Be sure if it’s slanted to return on the same side…

    When I first wrote about it I had thought of mentioning how strange it seemed to find out that what I thought was a ‘good’ thing to do could instead be harmful in terms of the series. But other thoughts bumped there way to the front. Look at all the damage that Nichol did by releasing the video… Her intention was good. Outcome for Jean Guy – disastrous.

    There’s an annoying little voice in my head that keeps whispering that in future books we may find other instances where good intentions stir things up in unexpected ways.

    As for “the French idea that even children drink wine at meals…” It not just a French idea, tho I see your point about the characters are French Canadian. I have family members who live scattered around the world. We all drank wine with our meal as children – a splash of wine with carbonated water, no ice. Interestingly, where I spent my teen years, there were no “I’m 21 and can drink now” drunkenness. The ‘cool’ thing was to know when to stop. Is the law of not being allowed to drink anything until 21 a ‘good intention’ that backfired? No idea…

  3. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Lizzy, Your comment about the Licorice pipe from an old fashioned store reminded me of Mast General Store. I checked their site—Licorice pipes en route. I’ll be able to enjoy a pipe while here at the Bistro.

  4. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Cathryne, Thanks for telling us about the vive Gamache mugs. A must have. I have already put a mug and a tote on my wish list for Christmas.

  5. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Millie, I’ve been thinking of your comment “where good intentions stir things up” concerning future books. Poor Nichol to have such a well intentioned act go so dreadfully wrong. I agree, we will see more of this idea of good intentions gone wrong. After all, it is a sad fact of reality.
    Friends and I have discussed that programs and ideas we advocated later turned into something no one foresaw. We have tried to determine at just what point everything went wrong. The best we have determined is that much is like a see-saw. At first everything is balanced. Changes, sometimes almost minute, occur and suddenly—Bang. Unbalanced.

  6. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    I’m thinking of rereading all the posts starting from the very beginning. I think there may be unmined gold…for me at least. It will take a long time as so many activities come up in the Fall and keep me away from my laptop. I’ll post any comments here and reference the source.

  7. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Julie, “gobsmacked” is a great word isn’t it. I LOL every time I read it. Just never found the opportunity to use it.

  8. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Yes, Millie, Peter was living Ruth’s nightmare (what she loved would disappear), and so was Professor Massey.

  9. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Reading of Ralph Cosham’s death last week reminded me that I have never heard the audiobooks he did of the series. They received such good comments from you folks that I requested Bury Your Dead be sent to my branch library. I am looking forward to hearing it.

  10. Cathryne Spencer says:

    You’re in for a treat!

  11. Millie says:

    Barbara, thinking about ‘good intentions gone awry,’ some more I realized that we don’t really need to wait for the next book. TLWH is full of good intentions that didn’t turn out as expected – for the characters in it and for us, the readers.

    Reine Marie starts with ‘good intention’ towards the moth but realizes it must ‘do its thing’ and turns the light back on.

    I too have started to read all the comments from this book. So many great ones I hope we all discuss further, starting with KB’s comment: “We usually associate “light” with “good”, and maybe it is. For the moth battering itself against the light, though, it is obviously not a good thing. Or is it too much of a good thing.”…

    Rereading this reminded me of my feeble attempt to apply the concept of Yin Yang to this story. Yin is the feminine, the creative, but it is the dark with the light center. Yang is the masculine, the light with the dark center, it turns the potential of Yin’s creativity and creates it into ‘reality’ which ‘inspires’ Yin…

    In many ways this reminds me of the way the brain works. Left hemisphere is the analytical, the side which sees parts and organizes them (Jean Guy loving making lists and his markers come to mind). Right hemisphere is the creative, the side which sees the whole in the parts (Gamache and Chartrand while viewing the Gagnon painting and brought almost to tears come to mind).

    But is one ‘good and the other ‘bad’? They just are what they are, I think. The trick is to maintain balance, as you said above, Barbara. To not judge oneself so harshly that creativity is stifled. To not stay in a state of ‘potential’ so long that nothing is created. Again, an over-simplification, but the best I can do…

  12. Millie says:

    Cathyrne, yes! Barbara is in for a treat with the audio. :-)

    Your comment that, “Peter was living Ruth’s nightmare (what she loved would disappear), and so was Professor Massey” came in just as I was re-listening and came across a filling out of Annie’s character which I missed before.
    …”She was constructed from, and for, happiness. But it had taken Annie Gamache a long while to find it. To trust it.
    And even now, in the still summer night, part of her feared it would be taken away… she knew the real threat to her happiness came not from the dot in the distance, but from looking for it. Expecting it. Waiting for it. And in some cases, creating it.”… Chapter 4, p.22.

    As I wrote this out, I was recalling that the last thing Peter paints in Three Pines is a dot on the canvas… It sure gives me lots to think about.

  13. Millie says:

    Anna, sending you warm, comforting thoughts – sit by the glowing fire place of the Bistro, take deep breaths and feel cared for and loved. You are, you know… :-)

  14. Julie says:

    Oh, so much to comment on – you all inspire me to think so much! I don’t think I’ve ever “thought” my way through a book so much as this last Gamache! First have many errands to run, though, so will just say that Anna, I, too, am sending good thoughts and feelings your way – I hope you get a chance to sit by the fire in the bistro and “just be” for a little while.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you so much Millie and Julie and everyone, for taking the time to think of me and send good thoughts.

      So tough here I find I can think of nothing but Mum. Getting ready to go see her again. She wasn’t well yesterday but hoping it was just fatigue.

      I keep thinking about good intentions going wrong……scary. But then things can also turn out better than we hope…..like the book club and The Bistro.

      I have been planning for ages to contact the bookstore and order mugs to maybe be delivered to our hotel in Whistler as a late Christmas present. Keep forgetting to do that so thanks for the reminder ladies.

      Hope the pain is easing Millie.

  15. Millie says:

    So true, Anna. Things can turn out better than we thought.Thanks for the reminder.
    I think my ramblings helped distract me. Found out today that my mom’s sister passed on. Finally, after 10 months of being in a coma. The family can rest now…

    Sending thoughts of peace to you, your family and your mum. May everything turn out for the highest good for all.
    Big hug.

    • Anna says:

      Oh Millie, so sad to hear about your Aunt even though it is a release. Big hugs to you. Too. It has been a big day here….again. Spending hours with Mum but staff are trying hard. Just on a quick break to check on dad.

      I will back to sit in the Bistro later and I will be thinking of you and me by the fire shedding a few tears in our cups of tea. Have to work out how to find liquorice pipes….the need is strong.

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