LOUISE PENNY’S

The Bistro

The Bistro

The Bistro Banner
Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

Hi everyone. Hope all is well with the weather where ever you are. I love hearing tales of cold weather, even though I know it is a worry for you who are living with it. After days of over 100 deg F, 40 C, I am ready for winter again and it is only spring! It is so much cozier in the Bistro when the chill settles outside but it is a shady spot in the heat as well.

I can’t wait to get to Whistler in January. It’s my favourite time of year, hot chocolate and waffles in the snow! Of course, as a visitor, I don’t have to worry about shoveling snow or driving in it or all the difficult stuff. I get that living in snow has its concerns and annoyance but I do love it.

It was funny reading about the discussion of past homes. I was showing my dad today photos inside my childhood home. It seemed so big when we were young but the photos made it look small. The photos were on the Internet from when recent owners had it up for sale. It was interesting but weird to see it as others had changed it and not for the better. Think I will stick to my memories!

I wonder how the Goodreads competition is going?,

Hi Anna, yes I have no idea how long it is open and a decision is made on the winner. I’m so glad this book made it to the final round, even if some were disappointed with it. I loved it myself, realizing it had to be different from previous books because the overarching story line had been resolved. Louise is such a great writer and deserves all the accolades she will get as she gets better and better known.

Sometimes new owners make changes that look awful to the previous owners. I designed and built a house here and lived in it for over ten years (somewhat of a record for me as the longest time I have ever been at the same address was 12 years). The people I sold it too loved it and didn’t do anything drastic to it, but the next owners did – they tore out walls, etc. – and here I thought it was just about perfect the way it was!! The house I’m in now is a better size for me. The other house was too big, especially after my husband died. It just seemed too much space. One’s needs change as circumstances change. In between I had a period where I couldn’t seem to settle, and I believe it was because I sold that big house too soon after his death – I didn’t wait the year, and I regretted it. But I’ve enjoyed this house, and now I’m making plans for my future as I get into mid-eighties and later. I’m pleased to be looking forward!

Hi Sylvia. You are quite right, housing needs change over time and it is good to plan ahead where possible for those changing needs.

I am a homebody but due to work etc, I have changed houses a lot. Moving is always hard but it can also be exciting. I love looking at house shows and the website/app Houzz is free and a wonderful resources to house planners. It’s also great for authors looking for places a character might live.

I hope your shortbread arrive! Australia Post can be good so fingers crossed this end!

Hello Anna, I have heard of Houzz – somebody may have mentioned it in one of the discussions – it’s fun to play around with house plans. What an interesting idea for an author to visualize a house that a character might live in. When you’ve created your character and know him/her really well, you would know what house would appeal and what wouldn’t, whether he would live in an apartment or a condo or a house with land around it and a garden. By that time the character has become a real person, jumped right off the page!

Think of the fun Louise had with Jane’s house! When I think of it, almost all the characters live in places we can visualize because they’ve been so well described. And I love that so many are traditional Quebec homes filled with antiques. I feel like I can actually go and sit down in their kitchens and have a cup of coffee….

Nancy, so glad you are dropping in, even if just listening!! What a lovely story of a beloved home being well taken care of by its new owners! That’s very heartwarming!
Julie, with our temperatures, our houses all have to be well insulated. Sometimes the outside walls are 9 inches thick. Of course older homes were not built to today’s building codes, but they have to be insulated to some degree. I love the changing seasons, and winter gets away eventually and then there is the miracle of spring and rebirth. It always thrills me! I just baked my first batch of shortbreads for this Christmas season, which gets sent to my daughter in Australia. They’ll be shipped by air to get there in time. I make 9 or 10 batches each Christmas season to give to family and friends. If there are some left that won’t fit into the tin I’m getting ready for someone, then I get to keep a few for me. They are pretty popular in my circle of family and friends! It’s that time of the year when we all do special things for the people we love.

Nancy – so nice to see your smiling face here! I love the story of your family home and that it is now so well-cared for by a new family, making their memories there!

Sylvia – shortbread is my weakness – nothing says Christmas to me so much as shortbread, and if I never manage to get anything else done, I bake shortbread cookies. I use my mom’s recipe, which is a little finer than most shortbread, but I just love it. My addition is I will sometimes add some food-grade lavender to it. Oddly, I hate the way lavender smells, but love the way it tastes! So odd, but, then, that’s me, hahaha.

Julie, how interesting! I never knew you could eat lavender, so I have no idea how it tastes. My shortbreads are made with some brown sugar as well as fine white sugar (not icing sugar) and also some rice flour is include with the all-purpose. They melt in your mouth!

I have got my daughter’s batch all boxed up and ready to send tomorrow. Next week I have to make a batch for a special bake sale we’re having at church to raise money for our sponsored child. And then I start in on batches for my children who live in Canada and other friends and family around here. The only thing is, it is quite tiring as I am standing a lot. But it’s once a year and Christmas is special!

Oh, they sound very delicious! I get tired when I stand too long, too. I have a tall stool I use if I am going to be a long time doing a single thing. (rolling the dough into little balls and flattening them with a cookie press, say, or preparing a lot of vegetables at once at the kitchen sink). My husband does me one better – if he wants an apple pie, he takes the pile of apples into the living room with the peeler and a couple of bowls and peels the apples while watching a football game from the sofa.

Thank you very much, Julie, for these links. I’ll check them out when I get a chance. I got the box off to Australia this afternoon by air mail. They are supposed to get there if mailed by December 1st, but I’m somewhat skeptical! I know Canada Post too well!

Good for you, Anna!! Goodreads themselves had emailed me to tell me The Long Way Home had reached the final round because I had voted for it in an earlier round. So I just had to click the link and got right in to vote.

Louise, we’re voting for you and cheering for you!!

Hi everyone. Will vote in Good reads, just have to find my password!

Please all stay warm and safe. We have seen the awful weather. It is very warm here and we have fire warnings so wild weather all round. I have never had to be the driver in snow but I have been in a car that ran off the Parkway in Western Canada. Scary stuff. Be careful Sylvia and all else who drive in the snow!

Mum is up and down but we had some good days so that is all I can hope for.

The writing is slow due to other commitments so the sequel is on hold but it has started and that is ok. Doing the line edit on book one and thinking about what to do with the finished product. I have to let you all read it, as much as that scares me knowing the high standards you are used to, but I know you are also kind. I am thinking of Kindle so you can access it. I was going to enter a competition but all the family issues have thrown me off track for that, which is ok.

Oh, I can hardly wait to read it, Anna. I only hope I can do you justice with thoughtful advice instead of just gushing… I think we all know already that we will like it! Glad your mum is doing a bit better.

Weather is so odd lately, that we just have to take what we’re given and try not to take crazy chances. We have no snow here in Seattle yet, but we had a long cold snap (cold for us is right around freezing) and it was kind of nice, because in those high pressure systems, we get sunshine! Now we’re back to the dreary gray though, and our temps have come back up to normal. Either way, this is about the best place on the continent these days… the snow they’re getting back east boggles my mind!

Hi Julie, it’s great to hear from you again! Buffalo, New York, just got hit with a huge dumping of snow and more to come!! Years ago, when we lived in Woodstock, Ontario, which is a bit west and across the lake from Buffalo, but we used to feel sorry for the people there because we would hear of these awful snowstorms they got. A new woman started coming to our church, and I asked her where she was from, and she told me Buffalo – so I remembered our sympathetic thoughts for the folks there. I think this one was even a record for them!! And it’s only November!! Goodness knows what the rest of the winter will be like! Here in southern New Brunswick the snow hasn’t accumulated because the temperatures are fairly mild. They are starting to slip just below freezing, but a cold snap to us is minus 20 celsius with a wind! That hits us about January-February. We bundle up in layers of clothing, but on very cold days I don’t go out if I don’t have to. The same in a real snowstorm. When schools are closed, I think that’s a good enough excuse to stay home! I consider those days as a real treat! I find having to go out to do errands in bad weather leaves me totally exhausted. I’m pretty much good for nothing for the rest of the day! The west coast has much milder winters than we do out here. Friends of mine are going to Victoria for the winter. Sounds very nice; I have been there once and it was a lovely place. While I was there, I had a chance to visit friends and relatives in various places, and that made me very intrigued with the part in The Brutal Telling, where Armand goes out to visit a Haida village and learn about the ways of the Haida and the totems. It wasn’t particularly pertinent to the story, but fascinating just the same! I love it that we are getting to see some interesting new places through Louise’s books. I have never been to Charlevoix, but now I feel as if I know it a little bit and would love to know it better. I bet the weather gets pretty wild out there at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River!

Hi, Sylvia – oh, I know how lucky we are here, weatherwise. I left Winnipeg to come here, which has terrible cold weather. And my parents used to live in Fort Erie, Ont., which is just across the border from Buffalo – they would have had this last dumping of snow! I remember visiting them when the piles of snow after plowing were almost as tall as their two-story house!

Sounds like you are in a better spot! My younger brother lives in Toronto and he never gets much in the way of weather. I was intrigued that no parking spots in Toronto have plug-ins, so I figure it probably doesn’t get cold enough to need them, at least most of the time.

He and I visited my older brother last week – he’s in Thunder Bay, Ont. It was already starting to get cold there. I remember hating the winter there when I was growing up. We were there to celebrate older brother’s 50th wedding anniversary, and it was really fun to drive around and look at the houses we lived in as children. The main house where we all spent most of our childhood couldn’t possibly be more than 800 square feet, but we never thought of it as small. We had three bedrooms, and now I can’t even imagine how they crammed all that in the house. The house looks exactly the same from the outside – not a single improvement, though it’s been well-maintained. I wish I were one of those people who is brave enough to knock on people’s door and say “I used to live here as a kid – can I come in and look around?” – you hear about those kinds of things, but I could never get up enough nerve. But it would have been cool to see if they changed the inside.

Hi Julie, yes you always wonder what someone else has done with a house you used to live in, how they’ve changed it to make it theirs. Sometimes we’d be horrified to find out!

Speaking of winters, they certainly are changing – much more snow than we had been getting. We call them “old- fashioned winters” as the older people who grew up here remember winters with snow piled high. We used to have the first snowstorm right around Christmas, sometimes on Boxing Day, but lately they’ve been coming in November and not melting away, but staying right until spring, with a lot more added in the meantime. I envy people who do winter sports because they really enjoy winter, while the rest of us merely endure it!

Endure it, is right, Sylvia. My last years in Winnipeg were terrible – it was even colder than usual, and as I got older I preferred weather that was much more mild. Not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter. I realize how pampered I am now, when I thought it was so cold in Thunder Bay last week, and it was hardly even freezing. I did notice how everyone in Canada heats their homes so well, though. That was nice. Being in such a mild climate here, our old house has absolutely no insulation, and we have drafts everywhere… impossible to keep out the cold, but it does make it necessary to have a fire almost every night, and I love to cozy up by the fireplace. Just like in the Bistro.

Julie, we sold my family home in 2010. My parents built it in the 40’s and Mom lived there until she died in Sept 2009 at 94. We were blessed to sell it to a lovely young woman who loved older houses. She’s now married with a daughter. This family has been so nice to us. Whenever we’re back in the area we are welcome to visit and see the latest changes they have made. I can just imagine that my parents are delighted that someone is enjoying the house that they built and lived in for so long. Yes, it’s hard to see the changes but I know that we have to move on and it’s wonderful that someone else is taking such good care of our home.

I know I haven’t said anything till now but have been enjoying sitting with you and listening to the conversation. (Even though part of the time we’ve been over in Vermont, Christmas shopping. And it is still green around Burlington…no snow.)

Today I got a message from Goodreads to say The Long Way Home had made it to the final round, so I just went in and voted for it for the final round. Things are getting better, and maybe this time she will win.

Sylvia, after reading your post involving fracking, fracking, and more fracking, I can’t seem to get ,”frack, frack, frack” out of my mind as I go about the house completing chores. It seems like it must be Ruth and Rosa’s best new expletive and I’ve adopted it for the time being. My husband has been in the hospital after an emergency room visit last Friday and will stay for the time being as he and the fine doctors try to avoid surgery. I’m at home with the cats right now, chanting frack, frack, frack! They don’t know what to make of it but they are pretty tolerant of their funny humans.

Cathryne, you gave me a much needed laugh. Frack, frack, frack indeed. Keep your sense of humor and frack way. Hope your husband does well. Good thoughts to you both.

Cathryne – I hope everything turns out okay for your husband. It’s so scary to have those emergency room visits. I’m fine with them, if they’re for me, but if they’re for Vern, then I can’t handle it at all! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you…

Dear Cathryne, I do hope your husband is feeling better and that you are also ok.
I haven’t been in the Bistro much as I have been a bit tied up with family and work. I was sorry to come back and see that your husband was unwell. Sending you positive thoughts. I must say, frack, frack, frack makes me giggle. What a great expletive. I seems to have a faded memory of the original Battlestar Galactica series and Starbuck using Frack the same way….hard to know, the memory is a bit overloaded at the moment.

In Australia there is similar controversy and struggle with fracking. Our local area has fought against it and my daughter did a debate on the topic at school so it is very topical. I see fracking has been associated with tremors and ground instability. There is also a big concern about methane in the water system as a result.

I hope everyone else is well and the Bistro fire is keeping your toes warm in the chill of the polar vortex. My sister had snow in Dallas but she arrived in Australia this morning for a week to attend my Aunt’s funeral. A very sad event but it will also be a grand family occasion. My Aunt knew how to party and there will be champagne in her honour.

Lovely to hear from you, Anna! Things get in our way sometimes, and we can’t be here as often as we’d like. I usually check in late in the day to see if there are any new posts, or to send one myself. I’m glad you’re planning to celebrate your Aunt’s life and personality. I’m glad she was a fun-loving lady; you can remember that and smile when you think of her. All the best to you!

Hi Sylvia,

I hope you are safe and warm as i keep reading about snow storms on the North American continent. Wasn’t sure if your part of the world was affected. I wonder how Barbara is faring as it is cold even in the deep south.

Brrrrr. It was 25 here at the house when by husband went out to meet friends for breakfast. When he returned, it was 34 and he was able to replace the water in the bird bath since it wouldn’t freeze.
Sorry to learn of your Aunt’s death, Anna. All of my family lived within 150 miles with most being within less than 20 miles. It’s hard for me to realize that so many people have to travel halfway around the world for a funeral. Two of my friends have children and grandchildren across the world from England to Hong Kong, both US coasts and north to Michigan. Thanks to the internet they are always in touch.
Hope the writing is going well. Good thoughts to you and your Mother, Anna.
Think I’ll move closer to the Bistro fire.
Hope all who are experiencing severe weather stay warm and safe.

Hi Anna and Barbara, it’s chilly here today, but not snowing. In fact it has been a bright and sunny day, but rather windy. We had some miserable weather last Friday and again Monday and yesterday, and I was out driving in it Friday and Monday. I have my winter tires on, and had no problems. It gets dark around 5 pm nowadays, winding down to the shortest day, then we can look forward to days getting longer again.

I hope your mother is settling now, and I hope your writing is still going along. Maybe your fun-loving Aunt can become a character in one of your stories!

Do go and vote in the final round, everyone! We want to see Louise win this time!!

Good luck to those trying to rid the construction business of corruption in Quebec. It is a very difficult and dangerous move. You mentioned Watergate, Sylvia. That was a wake-up call for many Americans.
I wonder what the central idea for investigation will be in the next story of Three Pines and if it will be tied into a larger problem in the Provence or Country. Evironmental questions are often in the local news here as well as state and national news. Air quality, safety of the aquafiers, and pollution ( (mainly chemical waste) of rivers are problems. There are concerns about the nuclear waste storage facility and the nuclear energy plant both which are nearby. Security has greatly increased at Ft. Gordon with the addition of the Cyber Command Center.
If any of these type problems are in the news in Canada, they might appear in future novels as LP keeps current with problematic events.
Can’t wait for the next book. Guess that’s obvious. LOL

Me, too, Barbara. I’m dying to see where Louise takes us and what she tackles next! As regards the environment, we have been having an issue in the Maritime provinces about hydro-fracking for natural gas. You’ve got the problem of the fracking itself and risk to water wells, the huge waste of good water to use in the fracking, and then the disposal of the waste water after the gas is out. Nova Scotia has banned fracking altogether. In New Brunswick, we just had a provincial election. The party in power was all gung-ho to do fracking, it would create thousands of jobs, etc. and bring in money we desperately need to overcome our debt burden. However, the people spoke clearly against it, and booted that party out after one term in office. The other party had proposed putting a moratorium on hydro-fracking until we can get more information about the risks and benefits involved and see which outweighs the other. Right now it looks as if risks outweigh the benefits, but some places seem to do it successfully with no problems. We’ll see over the next four years where all that goes. We had some very strong protest against hydro-fracking, which got pretty ugly at one point. It’s hard to know what to think, but we voted the party in that was going to give us a bit of breathing room to examine the issue more.

With Louise’s resolution of the overarching story that involved Arnot, the premier and the construction fraud and the bitterness between Gamache and Francoeur, it was looking as if there might not be any more stories, but she gave us The Long Way Home, and is continuing to write stories about our beloved heroes and the villagers. This will get more and more difficult for her as Michael’s illness develops. We will need to be very patient and understanding as we wait for each new book. And in the meantime, I hope The Bistro picks up again!

I have just started reading the Elizabeth George book about writing, called Write Away. As she makes a point about character, I can see what Louise has done. Now I’m reading about setting as character and how it shapes the people and the story. I’m looking forward to starting again to read Louise’s books and then the discussions on each one.

Well, I think what really matters is that Louise is building up a solid reputation for her well-written books, and even in my small town, her name is getting known. New people tell me they have started to read her books. Peter Robinson had written over 20 books before I even heard of him, and it was through an article in a magazine called Good Times, which is a Canadian magazine about retirement. Someone had interviewed him. I should write to them and suggest they interview Louise – also they could feature her in the Zoomer Magazine, which is the one associated with CARP (Canadian Association of Retired People). It’s interesting to me, that in our group of devotees, there seem to be only a few Canadians. Louise needs to get better known here. I was told about her by friends and was so delighted that she placed her stories in the Eastern Townships of Quebec because I had lived there, and the area has a lot of fond memories for me.

What a great idea. I’ll do the same for AARP , for those 50+ . I’ll try to find out about other publications like that in the US and contact them. You really hit on something I think.
Off for a daytrip with a senior group today. Going to the Raptor center at a college in a nearby town.

Quite an assortment of books included in the semi-finalist on Good-Reads site. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes was a no-go for me. I read the first 25 or so pages then some in the middle and the ending. I just couldn’t get into it although I’ve enjoyed most of his books. His previous book wasn’t a favorite either. Must just be my taste changing.
I was surprised to see Alan Bradley’s The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches listed. The books in this series are always fun to read. I love reading about the English girl, the same age as I would have been, and Gladys, her bicycle and her scientific experiments. In no way would I consider them equal to LP’s books.
Another listed is Janet Evanovich’s Top Secret Twenty-One. I laugh till tears stream down my face at the antics of the characters but the plots are never as involved as LP’s. I consider them and Bradley’s books to be light cozies.
Of course they are all mysteries and belong in that category but what a difference.

When I voted, I just picked Louise’s book because, as far as I’m concerned, it’s just the best. But I wonder what criteria other people are using when they vote. Is there any attempt to assess the value of the writing, or is it simply a popularity contest? Paul, do you know?

Simply based on the fact that you can choose any book and don’t have to actually read any of them then the contest is not judged on the writing at all. It is purely and simply a popularity contest. I want Louise to win but I find it interesting that she is not really that well known broadly. I have introduced Canadian friends to the joy of Three Pines and mention her regularly to other friends that may enjoy her work. I did not know her work until I stumbled across it by accident.

The Bistro is a very quiet place tonight. Good thing Olivier has his villagers! If he had to rely on us to make a living, he would have to close up shop!! But we’ll assume all our village friends are there chatting away about their day. I always come in to visit in the late evening. Then I go to my favourite chair and keep on reading the book I’m into at the moment. It’s called “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” by Nadia Bolz-Weber, who is a highly unconventional Lutheran pastor. She is so down-to-earth and real. She’s more comfortable with the street people, the outcast, the marginalized. She writes wonderfully and makes me laugh a lot and also cry a lot.

Sylvia, the Big O is still in use but I live in the west end of Montreal (NDG) and haven’t been to the Big O for years. My husband used to go through the Ville Marie Tunnel to the east end to his work place but is retired now so it’s only occasional trips. Yes, the Bistro is quiet tonight. About the poetry, Louise named another book by an author now deceased but I can’t remember the name of it and don’t know where to look for the reference. It was discussed in the re-read.
Just finished reading Missing in Action (John D Harvie) by a Navigator from Westmount who was a POW during WWII. Am also re-reading A Secret Gift..How One Man’s Kindness–and a Trove of Letters–Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup. Wish I could get into Myrna’s bookstore at this point. I’d love to browse.

Yes, wouldn’t it be fun!!

I’m glad the Big O is still in use. I was also struck by how close to life all that was. I know the construction industry has been very corrupt for years, particularly when any government money (i.e. taxpayers’ money) is involved. It made me think of the Sponsorship Scandal, which was pretty much the same kind of thing, money given but work not done. Then there have been more recent scandals along the same lines, involving the Quebec government, but I didn’t hear any details here in the Maritimes. Sometimes when Louise writes about something that real and close to home, I wonder if she might endanger herself. Fortunately it’s all fictional, not as if she were writing a non-fiction article, but organized crime might not care about the difference. I found it very chilling!

Corruption. If tax money were spent properly, our countries would be able to achive so much more. I didn’t know that Canada had the problem, too. It is well known that it is rampant in the US.

Barbara, that sort of corruption is worse in some places than others. Unfortunately, Quebec seems to be cursed with it the worst. However, there may well be a whole lot going on right under my nose that I know nothing about!

Nancy, what was going on that someone was trying to pin on the premier, Jean Charest? In How the Light Gets In, when they found the premier pulling the strings in the background, it didn’t surprise me nearly as much as it did the characters. Armand was shocked – it is shocking, but not surprising. I went to live in the province of Quebec in 1952 and left in 1967, living in Sherbrooke, Montreal and Chateauguay during those years. But there’s all kinds of different scandals going on in the Ontario government, which my daughter has told me about. It’s just that the kind of construction fraud seems particularly prevalent in Quebec. Does that seem a fair assessment, Nancy?

Barbara and Nancy, in today’s paper there was an article about the findings of a commission into corruption in the construction industry in Quebec. It was headed by a judge named France Charbonneau and the headline quoted her saying “Quebecers must work together to root out corruption.” That, of course, is a lot easier said than done, especially when the Mafia is involved, as it clearly is. But the issue of cracks in the Ville Marie Tunnel and in the Champlain Bridge in How the Light Gets In was very close to the truth. It wouldn’t surprise me if some involved would kill to keep the public from finding out, but it was really scary to think the Surete would be involved. That book was very disturbing, no wonder with all that happened to our beloved Armand and Jean Guy that we were an emotional wreck by the end! Then the last chapter brought such joy! I think it was incredibly brave of Louise to write about the corruption and make such a case for it going all the way to the Premier. It reminded me of the Watergate Scandal, which in the end went all the way to the President. It makes you wonder how much more wickedness is going on undiscovered!

The poetry in Louise’s books has always appealed to me, and I was very interested when she revealed in the acknowledgements section that many of them came from Margaret Atwood. She named the book, Morning in the Burnt House. I bought it and read it and enjoyed the poems there, some of which I recognized, of course. But there’s one quote Louise uses a lot, more in some books than others, that I can’t trace. It is “Who hurt you once, so far beyond repair, that you greet each overture with curling lip?” Once or twice there’s another part to it, “Then shall forgiver and forgiven meet, or will it be, as always was, too late?” I have always wondered that about Ruth. The quote sounds like Margaret Atwood’s style, but I couldn’t find it in Morning in the Burnt House, so I assume it comes from another of her poetry books. Up until I found out about this particular book, I didn’t know she wrote poetry. But I would like to track down that quote. I tried Googling it, but nothing came up.

Today I read something in our daily paper that brought back horrifying memories! They are building a new bridge in Montreal to replace the aging Champlain Bridge. They were trying to decide what to name the new bridge – someone had suggested they name it after the great hockey star, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, but apparently his family has asked them not to use his name. But the whole issue of crumbling infrastructure is a huge one in this country generally and I couldn’t help thinking of the corruption over it in How the Light Gets In, and the plot to blow up the Champlain Bridge. It gave me shudders!

I agree Sylvia. The first thing I thought of when reading How The Light Gets In was how close it was to real life. The tunnels downtown always look like they need help. That was also part of HTLGI (isn’t it part of the first chapter?).

Yes, Nancy, when Audrey is driving through the Ville Marie Tunnel on her way to work, she sees all the cracks and spaces and it looks like it might collapse at any moment. I heard that there were cracks in the Big O – the Olympic Stadium – and I have been expecting it to collapse ever since 1976! Somehow it still stands, but I don’t know how much it is used nowadays, as I don’t live in Quebec.

While thinking about politics and Three Pines, I realized we have no mention of barbershops, Beauty Salons, Doctors or dentists, auto repair shops, florist shops or gasoline stations. Does everyone drive to another town for these services ? Maybe I don’t remember and something has been mentioned. Do smaller rural communities have bus service to a town ? I sound like I really am moving there.
Another thought is how does an author decides what amenities to include ?
I just remembered the rush to the Hospital when the 3 ladies had been out on the ice and the man driving was saying all those words we had to decipher. So funny! Remembering names is not my strong suit.
Ok, enough of my musings, Hope everyone has a good day.
Hope you are healing, Millie.
Anna, Good thoughts to you and your Mother.

Barbara, in the early books, two small towns or large villages are mentioned, Williamsburg and St. Remi, and they seem to have various amenities. They are very close to Three Pines, but I’m not sure if they are real or fictional (they serve their purpose either way), and also in A Trick of the Light, Peter and Olivier go to Knowlton for newspapers to get the reviews of Clara’s vernissage. That’s a real town, I know. So although there aren’t many amenities like barbers, hairdressers, doctors, etc. in Three Pines, they are not very far away. I forget where the hospital was, but I’ll find out when I re-read. I didn’t come into the re-reads until The Murder Stone (or A Rule Against Murder), so I haven’t yet re-read the earlier books. There usually aren’t buses between towns and villages because populations are small and it isn’t a paying proposition to have intertown transportation.

Thank you for the kind thoughts Barbara.

I was thinking about all your questions. I just assumed that the Three Piners travelled for many services and shops, that would be fairly normal. It’s access to petrol that concerned me. Even some very small towns here have a petrol station, usually attached to another business such a shop, but not everywhere. I went through these thoughts with my book. I have a petrol station in my town, but I am not sure I have mentioned it in the novel. Maybe in the sequel!

I imagine they would get gasoline in St. Remi or Williamsburg. That’s one of those funny little word things we were talking about a while ago and if books needed to have words changed for other countries than the one they were written in. Here we never use the word “petrol”, but it’s “gasoline” we put in our cars, shortened to “gas”. “Petrol” is used in Britain. In small places, gas stations are being closed because they really aren’t viable.

Just heard tonight on the six o’clock news that the Republicans gained a majority in the Senate, so now they control both houses. This will make life difficult and more stressful for President Obama. He’s probably glad he has only two years to go!

I just posted without intending to. Before and after the meeting today, Sam and I and some friends had interesting discussions on politics and American History. Yesterday was election day for many local and state offices. US Representatives and Senators were elected also. Maybe we will have a little rest from the endless phone calls and TV ads for those running. All of this is to say I don’t know more than the very basics about government in Canada or Australia. I do know more about the election process in England. Has there ever been any mention of the local gov. in Three Pines? If so, my memory fails me.

Only that Ruth is Fire Chief, as far as I can remember!
In Canada, we have a parliament, like in England, but instead of the House of Lords, our upper house is the Senate. Some parties want to abolish it. At this point, our Senate is appointed, not elected. There’s much less of the two houses being controlled by different parties, but it can happen. Our lower house is called the House of Commons. We have more than two political parties, so we can sometimes have a minority government and it may not last four years. The provinces all have a legislature, just one house. The Senate is only in the federal Parliament in Ottawa. The system is quite a bit different than the U.S. system.

Thanks, Sylvia. What a combination of English and US names for branches of government. I understand some people run for office for the prestige and power and some because they truly believe they can improve the nation. Very thick skin is surely a requirement. I can’t imagine what it must do to a child to read or hear a parent insulted and criticized.

Once a month, we attend a program at our Museum of History. This year they have all been on the Civil war in Georgia in 1864 and the impact on Augusta. The Union General, Sherman and his troops were in Ga. for almost half of that year. Then they turned into South Carolina and headed North. A Symposium on the War in 1864 will be held this weekend with meetings on Thurs. and Fri. nights and all day Sat. I have Attended the others starting in 2011 ( the War started in 1861) but I’m skipping this year. Don’t know if I’ll attend the last one next year or not. Today’s speaker said the Confederacy should have have surrendered during the siege of Atlanta and surely when Atlanta was lost. I agree completely. The outcome was fairly obvious by then I think.

Yes, thank you, Paul. I just voted too. I looked back to 2013 and noticed Louise’s How the Light Gets In got over 10,200 votes then, but it was fourth. The top books got well over 20,000 votes. All those other people are missing such gems! But the word gets out, as we tell our friends and she’ll be right up there! After all, they can’t ignore a New York Times best selling novelist!

Trying to vote but can’t remember my GoodReads password, and Yahoo email is weird today so my password reset message is unavailable right now. I’ll keep trying.

Leave a Reply to Julie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to content