A Return to Three Pines: Still Life

A Return to Three Pines: Still Life

still life

Art is certainly a consistent thread throughout the Three Pines canon. 

Are there any real-life artists or works of art that come to mind when you envision Three Pines?

128 replies on “A Return to Three Pines: Still Life”

I just started reading the series and am hooked! I already have the next two in my possession, and am looking forward to the excellent mix of mystery and character development.

I thought Gamache was older than Alfred Molina looks. Wasn’t he? I thought that of the one movie they made too.

I think somewhere in the series, Louise refers to him as being in his mid-fifties. I have also heard her say that she wrote Gamache to be someone she could love, because she had read somewhere that Agatha Christie had remarked that she couldn’t stand Hercule Poirot anymore. And she talked about the fact that all the characters had to age in the series, but that she wanted to take it very slowly, because she couldn’t envision a dottering old man as her hero, and she didn’t want to pass the baton to a younger person – either Jean-Guy or Isabelle. So – they have to “almost” not age, but there are some things that aging does that must be included. Jean-Guy must mature and settle down somewhat, Gamache must have twinges of pain, a tremor of the hand, something that keeps alive the fact that he’s living with his failures, and the toll they take.

I thought that Nathaniel Parker was closer to the right look for Gamache, though my favorite idea of who should play him has always been David Suchet – though he is too old now. When he was in his early 50s I thought he’d be an ideal Gamache – he does a really convincing French accent as Hercule Poirot and, because he’s English, has a good English accent that Gamache has when he speaks English. Still, we can’t order up a “young David Suchet. He has the kindest brown eyes. I think it’s the kindness that shines from him that I feel makes him right for Gamache.

I seem to remember him being in his late 60s, early 60s, older and wiser, aged by his experiences in life but not jaded by them. I wasn’t crazy about Cíaran Hinds in Still Life, but when I saw Albert Molina with glasses on, I thought he was perfect .

I do not like the Gamache tv series. Actors casted as Gamache and Jean-Guy don’t seem to fit the characters I’ve come to know through the novels. I’ve read them all. I also find the title confusing with the movie made years ago. I watched the first episode and part of the second, but probably won’t watch any more. I’ll stay with the books.

Nathaniel Parker portrayed Gamache, not Cuernavaca Hinds.

I totally agree. Molina is who I expect Gamache to be. I wasn’t too keen on the actor in Still Life :/

I fell in love with Three Pines, and all the delightful characters. As many others have noted, I prefer to imagine the scenery and people. The rich tapestry of art, poetry, food and friendship is a treasure. I am so happy to return to this magical place!

I just finished reading “Still Life” for the 5th time — I restart the series a few months before a new book comes out — and I have to say I was surprised by something at the very end. Clara gives Peter the photograph of what she calls “The Blind House” (so relative to the story!)

What surprised me is this:
“Peter didn’t get it. Didn’t try. He left Clara standing there with a work of art that, unbeknownst to either of them, WOULD ONE DAY MAKE HER FAMOUS.” (CAPS MINE)

I don’t recall there ever being another mention of The Blind House in her art shows in later books. Did I missing something?

I re-reward the series before each release. Each time I find something I missed in the prior readings and marvel at how Louise makes each story seem simplistic yet I’m they are complex and interwoven. I don’t know how she does it but I hope she never stops!

A very good friend, who is also an avid reader, introduced me to Armand Gamache and I am so grateful. So far have read the first 5 books and I’m in love with Three Pines and its inhabitants. In fact, my friend wants to move there (!), I may go too! Louise Penny is a mastermind, how lucky are we to be the beneficiaries of her genius. I feel very “at home and cozy” when I am reading the Gamache series.

I would get lost wondering around Three Pines. I need a map! Would it be possible to include a diagram denoting who lives in which house??

I too appreciate the books for allowing me to envision the characters as I see them but if the movies are going to be made anyway I am wondering who you might cast as Inspector Gamache or any of the other roles? It is sort of a fun game to think through all the possibilities and figure out who could do the very best by our beloved Armand – not that the studio would appreciate our input!

The times that the Three Pines residents share any meal ~ at the bistro, at Clara’s house, at the Gamache’s ~ bring us closer to them and give us more reasons to wish that the village were real! Louise’s descriptions of yummy breakfasts, delectable sandwiches, marvelous entrees, spectacular desserts, indeed any food consumed in Three Pines, bring these gastronomic delights to our virtual realities.
I’m not a good cook, but I am tempted to try a recipe or two from this cookbook.
Thanks, Louise, for giving us more reasons to love your Gamache series!

I just want Louise Penny to sit down and write more and more books in the series. I am obsessed and listen to most on audio. I am happily married but otherwise would want to date Ralph who does so much of narration. These books in Three Pines are definitely my happy place and agree that a TV series would not live up to my imagination but am open minded.

I seem to have a favourite sentence in each book. Louise has a wonderful way of describing things and then capturing the essence in a single, wonderfully crafted line. For me, in Still Life, it’s her description of Inspector Beauvoir. After describing his comfortable clothing and casually draped scarf and contrasting this with his lean frame and taut stance, she sums up, “Jean Guy Beauvoir was loosely wrapped, but tightly wound.” Love it.

When I’m more stressed than usual, I check out for a while and visit Three Pines. I enjoy the food. I visit with my friends. I walk in the woods. I watch the river.
Three Pines tops my list of places I’d love to visit!

You write incredibly well, such a pleasure to read. I am 96 years old and am looking forward to your next book. I have my fingers crossed, a reason to energize myself!

I think possibly Louise’s books are more appropriate for a series so the characters can be developed over time and we can get a better feel for Québec’s Cantons de l’Est.

As an artist I appreciate the thread of attention to art that Louise includes in each book. Still Life can, of course, mean the art of rendering an inanimate object or objects that are sitting there waiting to be painted, but it can also mean that there is still life here; life hasn’t gone, or it could mean that there is life that has a stillness about it. Talking about the microbes in a still that is distilling whiskey is probably taking it too far!

Our daughter when I think of paintings we have quite a few of hers and treasure them one day we will return them but not yet

I would love to be able to order a cookbook – I’m dying to eat any of the delicious things made in the Bistro.
And I would also really like a collection of “Ruth’s” poetry.
Long Live Three Pines!

Painting – Alan Sapp and Kurelek – both concerned with people and morality, although I much prefer Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt – perhaps because I live on the northwest coast, and nature differs from that in Three Pines. Jane has a painter’s soul, and strong moral principles, beautifully juxtaposed with the lack of morality in her niece. This first book is a masterpiece, and I am continually amazed at the prescience of Ms. Penny, for the early introduction to the series’ characters. Thank you, Ms. Penny.

In art as literature, iconic images focus our thoughts and emotions. Those are the moments we remember. That’s what a good writer does. That’s what a good artist does. By narrowing our vision we have a pivotal point of reference. All the complications from life can be centered on one image. From there it makes it easier to see our surroundings and the available directions.

I appreciate art of all styles. Living in Montana for years the mountain vistas with all the pines are a favorite.

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