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. Jennifer Hanna says:

    Your books bring me rushing back to the seven years I lived in Knowlton and I can see the park, library, the Thirsty Boot (where I spent a considerable length of time). What a treat these postcards will be

  2. Sharron Kennard says:

    I’m in the process of selling and moving. Where? No clue, yet. Somewhere like Three Pines would be ideal. Wherever I land, I plan to get all of the books in this series, and slowly reread them, savoring each one.

  3. Christa Velbel says:

    Beautiful places, like life itself, have their aspects of grief and loss. We treasure everything about them, including the knowledge that happiness is not everything nor is it eternal.

  4. Sue says:

    I love, love, love this series! I want to visit Three Pines and go to Clara’s house for dinner. I see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, with every word your write.

  5. Jalia Henderson says:

    I fell in love with Three Pines, it’s people, and Inspector Gamache when I happened upon Still Life some years ago. Yes, Three Pines found me. What wonderful serendipity! Finding the website has inspired me to go back and read the series again. Thank you for writing such dense, literate stories.

  6. Sally Owen says:

    If I could climb into any fictional place through the pages of a book, it would be Three Pines.

  7. Lynne says:

    Thsnk you…. a great idea

  8. Bonnie Collida Kothawala says:

    Need a Three Pines in my life right now. Thank you for starting the postcards.

  9. Truly, a place to return to over and over again.

  10. Cathy Lovett says:

    I wear retirement now like an “old sweater”, but that was not always the case. That comfort and ease had to be earned. Reading all about Three Pines, through the entire series has helped me to slow down, find new friends and entertain my imagination with croissants and coffee. So I thank you for this and I commend you with your outstanding success. And please know that your reaching out through this type of connection ( newsletters, postings and now these postcards) is appreciated. Three Pines and Louise Penny have become a part of my world.

  11. Sally Traub says:

    Having been an avid reader my entire life, it’s so interesting how strongly and affectionately I react to this “imaginary” village. I feel I know it and everyone who inhabits this magical place. I can’t think of any other books that have done this to me. Thank you.

  12. Tedi Zimmermann says:

    What is so wonderful about all Louise’s books is her ability to invite the reader into a world where one is welcomed and nurtured. It’s the world we all hunger for but so seldom experience.

  13. Pat Richardson says:

    My gym friends and decided this was the summer to read all of the Gamache books. Started at Still life. We are in love with the place and the characters who live there. Just have two left. Can’t wait until November

  14. Barbara B Neil says:

    I also am re-reading the series this summer in preparation for November, finding new depth in the re-visiting of this lovely place ,the people who live and visit there. Would like to be one of them.

  15. Sandra says:

    Thank you for the postcard Louise. You pique our interest and senses of this tiny, out of the way village immediately. You invited us in to Three Pines as strangers but now we return on a regular basis as friends and family.

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