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. RK VanOrsdal says:

    You can always tell the USAmerica bookcover. The name of the author is always bigger than the title of the book. I never imaged the interior of the Hadley house looked that good. I like the subtlety of the egg cover best.

  2. Sherri D says:

    Definitely the American version. It’s much more evocative. The serene loveliness of spring captures the charm of the village and the people within, while the cracked egg suggests something sinister afoot. The Norwegian cover is too dreary and would not inspire my interest in reading the book.

  3. Fran says:

    I like the U.S. cover much better, partly because of the color palette, and partly because of the symbolism. Also, I didn’t think the Norwegian cover really represented the old Hadly house very well. An outside picture might have been more effective, since everyone in the book tries to avoid even looking at the old house.

  4. I like the bleakness and brooding of the Norwegian cover, but the broken egg in the US version certainly goes with the idea of cruelty.

  5. Linnea McNair says:

    I like the colors in the Norwegian cover but the content of the American one. The cracked egg is thought provoking.

  6. I much prefer the US cover that more closely follows the previous covers.

  7. Linda Sandefer says:

    I prefer the Norwegian cover – the colors and feel of the room draw me in.

  8. Robin Ball says:

    I like the American cover better; it is more inviting while the Norwegian cover tends to make me depressed before even opening the book.

  9. Sherilyn says:

    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.

  10. Linda Anger says:

    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.

  11. Juanita Giesbrecht says:

    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!

  12. Ethna O'Shea says:

    Definitely the Norwegian cover. Much more interesting and intriguing!!

  13. Kay Kaade Sheets says:

    I prefer the US cover.

  14. Patricia Klein says:

    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!

  15. Eva says:

    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.

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