Gamache Goes Abroad – The Cruelest Month

Today, in “Gamache Goes Abroad,” we visit the Norwegian edition of The Cruelest Month. As you might remember from the Cultural Inspirations we did about this book, the title directly references the T.S. Eliot poem “The Wasteland.” In the book, Gamache reflects on the nature of the poet’s idea that April is the cruelest month. The American cover clearly represents April with its Easter egg imagery, but the one cracked Easter egg in the corner suggests something sinister as well. 

In contrast, the Norwegian publisher chose to focus on an image suggesting the inside of the Old Hadley House, where some villagers celebrated Easter with a séance in this book. While the American cover uses pastel colors commonly associated with spring, the Norwegian jacket is done entirely in a muted, dark, and mysterious color palette.

What do you think about the two different covers? 

Which cover better encapsulates your feelings about Louise’s third book?

Discussion on “Gamache Goes Abroad – The Cruelest Month

  1. darlene mantione says:

    Your Norwegian cover better captures the feel of the book.sinister and dark. To be honest I didn’t get the u.s. cover at all. It just appears all the u. S. Covers are blue. I would like to see a Canadian cover. I think it would be different from both

  2. Terri says:

    I prefer the Norwegian cover. Intriguing and eye catching.

  3. Suzanne Mims says:

    I prefer the Norwegian cover. I think it embodies the mood of the book better.

  4. Patti says:

    The Norwegian cover is subtle and stunning. It makes me want to read the book again!

  5. Helen Kistner says:

    I prefer the Norwegian cover

  6. Diana Kornfeld says:

    I am drawn to the US cover probably just because I love the colors. But wow that Norwegian cover has power. Very intriguing.

  7. Neva Shelton says:

    I imagine that spring in one’s country influences the colours we would choose to represent April. Although I like the colours of the US cover, I don’t relate to them for “April in Quebec”. For me, the left-over winter chill and greyness we in southern Quebec experience, are better represented by the stark Norwegian cover.

    • Linda Meadows says:

      That’s what I was thinking too. I live in Maine, U.S. which is close to Canada, and April looks nothing like that cover. I like the muted darkness of the Norwegian cover, but the scene doesn’t catch me. A picture of nature in Three Pines in April would be more fitting for me. gray and brown, perhaps muddy

    • Lin Robinson says:

      Yet the Easter egg hunt with colored eggs in the grass was important in the opening scenes.

  8. Carole Carraro says:

    I find that all the American covers evoke a softer and more subtle, impressionistic illustration, less harsh and sinister. It does not give away any of the plot but leaves you searching for the meaning behind it.

  9. Joanne Sheffler says:

    Maybe I’m alone in this, but the Norwegian bedroom made no sense to me.the bedroom? The seance? I couldn’t relate the image to the story. Initially thought it was a room in the inn. The other cover—-the colors and the cracked Easter egg brought to mind April, “ the cruelest month.”

  10. Alice Briggs says:

    I prefer the American cover. The crack in the pastel egg and the darkness in the back of the photo both suggest the sinister elements hiding among the April beauty.

  11. Marilyn says:

    U.S.. cover for me. That cracked egg…..

  12. Christine Henderson says:

    The US covers draw me into the charm that is THREE PINES each and every time I read the novels. The covers envelope me in warmth and safety, and I know whatever the challenges will be, Gamache and his friends in THREE PINES will meet them.

  13. Mary Duncklee says:

    Being a Florida resident, April is usually low humidity and pleasant weather, but the story and the seance are dark and forbidding, not pleasant so I would choose the Norwegian cover as a clue to what you’re going to read.

  14. Judy Contino from New York City says:

    The Norwegian cover is fantastic. And so I will be downloading The Cruelest Month from my library and reading it yet again. I think this will be my third reread Can’t get enough of Louise Penny. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  15. Jean Halloran says:

    I really like them both, but am leaning to the Norwegian on for the intrigue it depicts.

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