Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

Still Life Postcard
“Here in Quebec. Finally started writing. I think I’ll call it STILL LIFE. What do you think? Struggling a bit with fear but inspired by the fall colours. ”

Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map, being too far off any main or even secondary road. Like Narnia, it was generally found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in this valley all along. Anyone fortunate enough to find it once usually found their way back. And Thanksgiving, in early October, was the perfect time. The weather was usually crisp and clear, the summer scents of old garden roses and phlox were replaced by musky autumn leaves, woodsmoke and roast turkey.

Three huge pine trees faced [Gamache] at the far end of the green. Between him and them was a pond, a bunch of sweater-clad children circling it, hunting for frogs, he supposed. The village green sat, not surprisingly, in the center of the village, a road called The Commons circling it with homes, except behind him, which seemed to be the commercial district. It was a very short commercial. It consisted, as far as Gamache could see, of a depanneur whose Pepsi sign read ‘Beliveau’. Beside that was a boulangerie, the Bistro and a bookstore. Four roads led off The Commons, like the spokes of a wheel, or the directions of a compass.

As he sat quietly and let the village happen around him he was impressed by how beautiful it was, these old homes facing the green, with their mature perennial gardens and trees. By how natural everything looked, undesigned. And the pall of grief that settled on this little community was worn with dignity and sadness and a certain familiarity. This village was old, and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

  1. Steven D Cooper says:

    I enjoyed the 3 Pines stories very much until Louise Penny chose to weigh in on America’s struggle with mass shootings while ignoring mass shootings also happen in Canada. American citizens disagree with each other about the solution to these terrible events, and uninformed comments from others are a distraction, not a help. I’m sorry that I admired her enough to follow her on Facebook. If I had not done that I would not be aware of her feelings to American citizens and our Constitution. Then I could still enjoy the Gamache stories but unfortunately, I can’t do that any longer.

    • Joseph D. Aiguier says:

      I’m sorry to see your disappointment with this author’s (perhaps) political stance, Steven. I’m afraid that it’s going to be difficult for you to find a writer who shares your exact ideological stand, but good luck with that project. We all need to read more, encounter differing beliefs, and accept that we’re individuals rather than clones of one another. Why would we want to be merely part of some large group-think? All peace to you; find something you can read with joy.

  2. Read them all and loved them! Wait with bated breath for the next. What a creative way to remind us of what we’ve read and enjoyed so much. Ellie

  3. Jeanne Tapp says:

    3 pines is my ‘go to’ place when I’m looking for peace, calm and community.

  4. Barbara M says:

    I live in the United States now. Reading the Gamache series takes me back to my relatives’ homes and my parents’ stories of growing up in Montreal, the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships. Many many thanks for this classy Quebec journey.

  5. Barbara Milgrim says:

    I live in the United States now. Reading the Gamache series takes me back to my relatives’ homes and my parents’ stories of growing up in Montreal, the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships. Many many thanks for this classy Quebec journey.

  6. Julie Van says:

    Thank you for the lovely gift of Three Pines and its cast of characters, I think of them as dear friends. The books are a joyful respite from life’s tumultuous times

  7. Diane says:

    Maybe all of us who yearn for Three Pines could establish our own little village! While visiting Knowlton last year for the book launch, I noticed all the beautiful land not yet developed.
    Louise, you would have to help with the vision and promise to visit!

  8. Jennifer Randle says:

    In my mind I leave Myrna’s bookshop, my arms full, on this cool fall morning and go directly to the bistro. I find a comfortable upholstered chair in front of the fire, stack my books on the floor next to the chair, and wave to Gabri and Clara at a window table. The scent of freshly baked croissants and brewed coffee tell me that my late morning breakfast is on the way. Ah, life could not be better. At least until November.

  9. Mary Anne Warren says:

    The descriptions are so apt – that I ‘see’ this village in my mind – and in my heart. after all, isn’t this where we all want to live? really.

  10. PEGGY MAINESS says:

    I love everything Louise Penny has written. Three Pines could be hidden in the mountains of North Carolina where the climate is Alpine
    My real fascination is that this Southerner has a French Canadian grandfather whose ancestors arrived in 1640. I love the inclusion of culture and cuisine.

  11. Maria Quinlan Leiby says:

    Reminds me of my hometown in the hills of Connecticut. Though there certainly has been grief there, it is—thankfully—nothing like Three Pines in that regard.

  12. Dorothy Mask says:

    I read one of the books and went back and read all of them. What a wonderful writer! You can experience the village and the people as if they are real. I wish there was such a place because I would move there! Can’t wait to read the Kingdom of the Blind in November!

  13. Kay Tibbles says:

    OK, now I am going to have to reread the series. Can’t wait! Your writing is exquisite! I adore Three Pines and each & every one of “my friends” there. Thank you Louise for allowing me the extreme pleasure of reading your books.

  14. Pamela W Spitz says:

    This is a brilliant idea. Thank you for creating a way to make us feel like we are neighbors in Three Pines. I want to reach for my sweater and sit on the bench.

  15. Diane W says:

    So creative. I would not expect less.

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