Gamache Goes Abroad – How the Light Gets In

There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

This quote first appeared in A Fatal Grace, then inspired the title of Louise’s ninth book, and clearly guides a recurring theme throughout the Three Pines canon. In examining this week’s international edition, from Slovakia, we were struck by the differences in how we both interpreted this quote. 

Our Slovakian colleagues chose to focus on the first part of the stanza — There’s a crack in everything — with imagery suggesting a crack in the floor. They split the quote even further by actually dividing the cover into two parts. 

It would appear that our jacket designer focused instead on the second part of Leonard Cohen’s quote: That’s how the light gets in. On our cover, the light filters through the spaces between the trees to illuminate the snow on the ground.

By each focusing on one side of the quote, somehow both publishers managed to illustrate the symbolism of separation. 

For more on Leonard Cohen’s influence on Louise, click here

What does this quote, in the context of Louise’s work, mean to you? 

Discussion on “Gamache Goes Abroad – How the Light Gets In

  1. Lucie Easley says:

    Definitely love our cover best. It’s one of my favorites of all books. Your book can’t come out too soon. I fear Florida is heading for another shutdown if schools are forced to reopen as numbers of infections continue to rise. We need Ruth as governor to get things on right track.

    • Karen Scharf says:

      Oh, Ruth as governor is an intriguing idea! Trying to imagine it sends my mind in so many directions. Yes, I think we need Ruth right now. I just re-read this book and enjoyed it all over again.

  2. Michele H. says:

    How the Light Gets In challenged Myrna, Ruth, Jean Guy and Armand to search and reach for the light that they needed in their lives to make them whole again.
    It’s why I am drawn to the North American version of the light peaking and filtering through the trees on a snow covered ground, with the potential of life giving warmth.

  3. Jo Zapatka says:

    I too like the blue cover best. Always interesting to read the different interpretations of the covers. Leonard Cohen was and is fabulous

  4. Sandy Warawa says:

    I love our cover of the book. I appreciate what the Slovakian cover was trying to represent, but I think it just misses the mark, the point of this book. The clarity of our cover fits with my feelings on this book.

  5. Maureen Miller says:

    It’s the middle of July in Georgia during these cray cray times. The snowy sunny blue cover speaks to me of peace and serenity. I’ll take that any time of the year, especially now. Louise, thank you once again.

  6. Darlene Mantione says:

    I like the blue cover as it speaks to me of hope. The first peek of light, of dawn, a new day.

  7. Shirley says:

    I think this is my favorite of the whole series – so far… I’ve read it three times and cried every time!

  8. Lesley J says:

    I prefer the North American cover with the natural sunlight filtering through the trees onto the cold snow. The Slovakian cover, with a foreground of milled lumber constructed into a boardwalk or deck, is not a natural “crack in everything,” and seems quite unrelated to the title and its original quotation. When I think of these lines by Cohen, I sometimes think of the image of an egg and the chick inside cracking its way out into daylight— which relates back to Ruth’s experience with her two ducklings, and the one that didn’t survive.

  9. Vance Ginthe says:

    There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
    I appreciate how themes seem to continue and grow in each additional book. That builds a healthy connection to the seasons of life.

  10. Gail Newman says:

    No contest this week – the North American cover gets my vote!

    Also love Lucie Easley’s suggestion of Ruth for governor. Come to think of it, why not president!?

  11. Debbie K says:

    To me the Slovakian cover represents cold reality. There”s a crack so something is broken. The other cover shows warmth from the light. Even though something is broken there is hope. Even though the color blue can be cold looking, the blues on this cover are warm and inviting. I was drawn to this cover and knew that the characters were going to go through something that would test them, there was light and hope waiting for them.

  12. Velda Smiley says:

    I love the light filtering through the trees. The blue tint in all of the us books makes think of the North. The blueness of the sky sears the soul and you can’t but be hopeful

  13. Kay Kaade Sheets says:

    Much prefer the blue cover. This is my favorite book. I love them all, but this one is special

  14. Judy Merchant says:

    I love the blue cover. I too feel a certain warmth and a suggestion of a beginning. Peaceful.

  15. Pat Winstanley says:

    I love the symbolism of the quote. Even if something looks broken, the light can get in to illuminate the way to redemption. Let’s use that path of light to lead us all out of this broken situation to get to a new better life.
    Not just the life we had before, but a life with more equality, better social and economic support, a life where we are all truly “in it together”. We’ve been doing okay in Canada but could still do so much better.
    Also love the idea of Ruth for President. Would she have Rosa as her running mate? (Waddling mate?)

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