LOUISE PENNY’S

Gamache Goes Abroad: The Cruelest Month

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”

The Norwegian color tones seem to fit the book better but I would have done the picture in the room where the seance was held and added the bird.

Just finished this book last night. If the Norwegian cover had the toppled chair in it and ring of salt perhaps I wouldn’t feel like it was about a time long ago. I usually like darker versions of covers but the colorful US one means more to me – with the broken egg – Easter and in reference to Lillium (RIP) ;(

I think the Norwegian version is too stark — while the Gamache stories often deal with dark topics there is is always hope there. I would not choose the book based on the Norwegian cover. But the US cover is not my favorite either though the cracked egg speaks to those crises and imperfections found in the storylines.

April is the cruelest month because you are expecting spring and then you get more winter dumped on you, if you live in the north. Which I do, just south of Three Pines Vermont. The American version exemplifies that with the cracked Easter egg which connects to the story. It gets my vote.

I, too, would like to see covers that are Canadian-inspired. I would also like to see your covers use the Canadian spelling of words, not American. “Cruellest” is how Canadians spell the word, not “cruelest”. I am a Canadian. I am a proud Canadian. I am proud of you, a Canadian author.
Yay, Canada! Please, Louise, you must have some say about the cover contents and spelling. Please, do something.

I like the dark, almost monochromatic colors of the Norwegian cover because I tend to like tepia and black & white. I agree with others – the bedroom scene does nothing to draw a new reader. In fact, it might give a wrong impression. The cracked egg in the American cover can be totally related to April in some regions of the country, including mine in Oregon. Thank you for these interesting and thought provoking posts.

I dont think of the Gamache series as being dark or sinister . There is so much good that comes to light with each character therfore I prefer the American cover.

I thought the cracked Easter egg was a turtle. Time for new glasses? And the rest of the cover is filled with palm fronds, which reference the Christian celebration of Easter, I suppose, but otherwise, I’m rubbing my head over all this imagery. Eliot wasn’t talking about Easter; he explicitly told us what he was talking about (not something always easily discerned with this particular poet). Images aside, I can’t wait for the next Gamache installment. I miss all the characters as if they were family — and in a way they are now.

I prefer the U.S. cover by far. The Norwegian is very dark and depressing. The American cover is lighter and shows both hope and more sinister note with the cracked Easter Egg in the lower corner. But isn’t this the premise of all the Gamache books that good and evil coexist in this world and that ultimately good overcomes evil. The Norwegian cover to me shows a dark, dismal world where there is no hope.

I can not relate to the Norwegian cover. It looks like a noir French movie. I guess that it makes sense after reading the book, but it would not encourage me to read it.

The Norwegian cover captures the essence of the book. The American cover was forgetable.

I prefer the American cover. The Norwegian cover of a bedroom didn’t make sense to me.
I can hardly wait for the next book.

Spring in Norway is much anticipated by the Norwegians. Once April/Easter arrives the whole country shuts down and everyone heads to their mountain huts. They love the longer days ahead after such a dark winter. I vote for the American cover..I think the Norwegians would too!

I prefer the U.S. cover. Here in Manitoba, April can be quite unpredictable. Some years we have beautiful weather with lots of growth and some years a snowstorm will appear in a Colorado Low coming our way. April can be cruel as our expectations rise then get dashed with regularity. We look forward to Easter but the cracked egg in the corner suggests our yearning for Spring may have to wait a little longer. The Norwegian cover does nothing to show how much we northern North Americans love our outdoors. The Gamache series is so inclusive of the foibles of weather with wonderful descriptions of Quebec countryside In all seasons. Even some of the murders takes place outdoors (Dead Cold that I am currently re-reading is one example) so no, the Norwegian cover is almost a take off of a master’s painting except the colours are muddier!

I actually love them both.
The Norwegian cover “fits” for me as the master bedroom in the old Hadley House, which did provide the “dark and sinister” side of the story. BUT, the American cover portrays the sense of hope and possibility that underpins the entire Gamache series for me.
Were I confronted with both, side-by-side in the store, I would probably choose the American cover only because the Norwegian one gives more of a “ghost” story feel.

I love the US cover in blue. The Norwegian cover is to busy. But then again, I’ll read anything no matter what the cover looked like if it has Louise Penny’s name on it.

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