The Annotated Three Pines: Bury Your Dead

The Annotated Three Pines: Bury Your Dead

Bury Your Dead

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From Pg. 5
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, Émile remembered the quote as he remembered those days. Yes, he thought, that described it. Chasmed fears. Both their own, and the murderers. Across tables across the province he and Gamache had sat. Just like this.

Louise’s Thoughts:
The Hound of Heaven. I remember when my mother gave me the tiny booklet with the green cover and told me it was one of her favourite poems. I’d just finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and for some reason thought it was the same story, in verse. It is not. The Hound of Heaven quickly became one of my favourite poems, to the extent that I memorized it. I suspect I loved it because it described my relationship to God, at that time. Believing, but afraid of what God might ask of me. It’s that same sort of tension that I try to bring to the books. Especially, perhaps, Bury Your Dead. The struggle to believe, to trust, to give up, in the face of terrible reasons not to. To face those chasmed fears. In my life. In Gamache’s. In yours.


From Pg. 14
Closing his eyes he breathed deeply, smelling the musky scents of the library. Of age, of stability, of calm and peace. Of old- fashioned polish, of wood, of words bound in worn leather.

Louise’s Thoughts:
So interesting to read this, and realize that the sense of smell has been a theme throughout the books. In fact, it plays a part in the one I’m just writing now. So evocative, no? How quickly not just memories, but feelings, come back. We’re transported body and soul, to another place. Like Armand, and probably like you, I cherish the smell of books. Opening one and smelling that distinctive scent. And then, put hundreds, thousands, together in an old library, and what do you have? A haven. Exactly what Armand needs.


From Pg. 28
Though these days he was never alone. He longed for it, for blessed solitude. Avec le temps, Émile had said. With time. And maybe he was right. His strength was coming back, why not his sanity?

Louise’s Thoughts:
I suspect anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows how Armand is feeling. Of being haunted. Of both wanting that ghostly companionship, but also longing to move forward. Out of crushing grief. The attachment here is with a barb. This memory, this boy, is connected to Armand, without respite. Both a companion and an accusation.


From Pg. 92
All the images he kept locked away during the day he let out at night. He had to. He’d tried to keep them in, behind the groaning door but they’d pounded and pressed, hammering away until he had no choice.

Louise’s Thoughts:
It was difficult to write about PTSD. To try to get into the mind of someone who’d suffered. Who’d survived when those he was responsible for did not. And that the conscious mind could only control so much, and so long. Before it broke. But then, as we know, it’s how the light gets in.


From Pg. 192
In my line of work you grow suspicious of coincidences. They happen, but not often. And when you see one you ask questions.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Honestly, I try not to deal in coincidences. Seems far to facile, too cliched. But when I do, it is done very carefully, very consciously. I hope, in this case, it works.

37 replies on “The Annotated Three Pines: Bury Your Dead”

One of my favorite memories as a child was visiting our local library, the Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, library, and seeing a copy of Abby Hoffman‘s steal this book chained to the counter.

I am heavily immersed in Louise Pemny’s books and I am reading #6 “Bury Your Dead”. There is so much in these books that connect with my past in Minnesota. I am not getting what a strawberry night means? I am currently on page 62. Can anyone explain?? Thanks in advance

Hello — Just finished a re-read of “Bury Your Dead”. Here’s what I think the strawberry night means. Winnie, the library who could read perfect French, but could not speak it properly had ‘the night is a strawberry’ as a reply in French to a question. In the meantime it became an inside joke among the rest of the characters. Maybe that will help.

Just now taking the time to savor The Annotated Three Pines, and enjoying the dialogue so much! I have loved books for so long, the smell and feel of them. Now I have some arthritis in my hands, and find a Kindle so much less painful to hold, or to prop up in it’s cover. I also rig it up to lean slanted on a bean-bag type pillow on top of the opened drawer of my nightstand. That way I can read curled up on my side, and when I fall asleep, it goes dark, and doesn’t fall to the floor and wake me up!

You brought back a memory of my childhood library. I lived in Dallas, Texas and the nearest library was a bus ride away. I loved the library. It was old fashioned with high brown wooden bookcases. You had to walk upstairs to get to it. The children’s books were downstairs, which involved walking outside around the building to the side and down a few steps. In the summer it was always cooler down there and I remember the smell when you entered. It was always comforting.

I agree Bury your dead is my favourite book so far. A friend suggested Louise Penny as a great author and said to start from the beginning which, by haunting my local library, I did. However, it wasn’t long that I decided to get my own copies! I have now re-read them all and will be doing so again as there is always something you miss. The relationships between the characters is so very deep AND caring. Thank you Penny for such riveting, moving and interesting novels. Only a month to go for the next!

How wonderful to share a love of books, of reading. I live in Australia and I have no idea where these lovely people live but I feel an instant bond and affection for whoever or wherever they are.

I love the scent of old books and new, the feel of the paper, the excitement of the first page and the sadness at the last. A bit like say “Bon Voyage” to an old friend.

Thank you for your wonderful writing, I really hope you know how much your books touch us.

The introduction to this book has very meaningful thoughts and words. I wish it was on the audio version of Bury Your Desd.

A story is the passage of wisdom without which life is bereft of vitality and worth and humanity. All Louise Penny’s stories envelop one, allowing one’s self to enter a magical place where love and joy and sadness and pain and humility and hate and god and godlessness and every aspect of being are presented in the best of story-telling fashion, where a word is key to a library of existence in a universe in need. The characters, all, greet one with a sense of value and a beauty of difference. Her words are music and echoes, providing inspiration for everyone’s journey, finding magnificence in others and love and patience to learn kindness and acceptance.

I put off reading this installment for unconscious reasons. But now I know why.
The quote from page 5 and your Thoughts, still has me in tears. It’s coming up on the anniversary of losing half my family…
And I am struggling greatly with doing everyday tasks let alone the latest barrage of caretaking of an elderly parent.
Our memories alone are frequently hard enough, but add in all our senses, and it can be either a breaking point, or, hopefully, with time, the gift that keeps on giving.
This Annotation was the most powerful one yet. I hopefully will be able to revisit it in the future.
Thank you for helping me understand what I am experiencing!

My idea of “Heaven” as always been my favorite reading chair. Unlimited inventory of books. And a few cats.

You gave me a gift of Gamache. I adore the Three Pines town and characters, the insights, poetry, locations and history infused with a mystery. These layers make me addicted to your books, as I have gotten to learn so much from you, the gardens in Scotland, the crater park in canada, towns, castles, the quints, and the winters Ive never seen as Im a Florida gal. I love looking up all the cool things you introduce me too. A story within a story. Thank you!

I just finished re-reading this book. It was even better this time. So poignant since I know the past and the future, of Beauvoir in particular.
The return to the Olivier case and the surprise of the real murderer was inspired. The embodiment of “I was wrong.”

I was enrolled in a Road Scholar program featuring Quebec and this book was on the suggested reading list for the trip. It was my introduction to Louise Penny and the series. In Quebec, I visited the library and even was allowed to peek into the cellar. This discussion has inspired me to reread what is my favorite book of one of my favorite authors.

Love the Hound of Heaven backstory and the library–a quote from my very favorite 19th century author, George MacDonald: The familiar faces of my books welcomed me. I threw myself into my reading chair and gazed around me with pleasure. All my old friends present—there in spirit, ready to talk with me any moment when I was in the mood, making no claim upon my attention when I was not.

Closing his eyes he breathed deeply, smelling the musky scents of the library. Of age, of stability, of calm and peace. Of old- fashioned polish, of wood, of words bound in worn leather.

I love this description! It speaks to my heart. You might like this description that comes from a book by Laurie R. King, Dreaming Spires: “The house was still, weighty with the comfort of a thousand books.”

I’ll add your description to my collection. Thank you. Your books speak to my heart.

I have a friend who loves reading- she would share her love of Laurie King – both over the phone & in written letters. Sadly, alzheimers has overtaken the dialogue we could have – I find myself thinking: must call & talk about Louise Penny & her books. Can only do so in my mind as she has been robbed of this sharing. I do have 2 adult dghters who share with me each book read!

One of my favorite memories is visiting the library as a little girl in small town South Louisiana. If I finished all my books in one or two days my dad (being an English teacher) would bring me right back. Love all your stories, your characters, Three Pines and intricate personalities. Thank you!

Of course, one of the most famous is Proust and his reference to madeleines in tea. All of the senses can trigger flashes of the past. It is hard for me to pick a favorite Louise Penny book but do love this one. The interplay between Armand and Emile. Love the additional feedback. Enjoying these Q and A very much! Thanks for all of the time you give, Louise, to crafting joy for all of us!!

Need to add a postscript. Went on line and found “Hound of Heaven”. Am breathing in the hope. Will need to read it several more times to really absorb it. Favorite line so far is, “All that thy child’s mistake Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: Rise, clasp My hand and come!”. Such a comforting invitation . Thanks, Louise, for sending me searching. Had used the phrase Hound of Heaven, and even a quote or two, but had never savored the entire poem.

The library was such a refuge for me. Our neighbor took me to the library for my first library card when I was about 6. It was a refuge for a curious child. Just thinking about the smell of books brings back so many memories. The sense of smell can trigger instant recognition, a perfume worn by your great-aunt, the incense at special church services, driving by a favorite burger joint, new mown alfalfa. All are a part of our memory and make us who we are.

Louise’s books are like that, we remember each of the characters and the emotions that they trigger. “Bury Your Dead” was so full of memory evoking scenes and built up the tension. Louise really touches all of our emotions and senses.

My oldest grandaughter has been a reader from the age of 5. More to the point, she collects books, and I mean EVERY book she has ever got. When asked by her mother to cull the collection she looked at her in genuine horror and asked, “Would you cull your friends?!” A few Christmases ago, after the opening of gifts and the clean-up, I watched Gracie from a corner of the living room. She didn’t know I was looking at her. As usual, she had a stack of new books received as gifts. Unobserved she gazed at each of them and at the last, stuck her nose deeply into the centre of one and breathed deeply. Suddenly, she jumped up and looked around. Spotting me, she ran over and exclaimed, “Grandma! Smell this book. Isn’t it WONDERFUL?!!!” That was the greatest gift I got that year. She and I don’t do kindle.

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