The Bistro

The Bistro

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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”

Julie, I think you are exactly right that this characteristic of Gamache’s goes directly back to the death of his parents. It was like a lightning bolt with no storm, no way to foresee, it affected Gamache’s view of the world from that moment on. It makes me think of the books Thinking Fast and Slow and Undoing. I’ve only read about them and watched interviews with the authors, but they were fascinating. Our brains do crazy things to try to make sense of our world and experiences and, especially, control them, even trying to go back and “undo.”

I did not know if you saw my reply, but I again wanted to thank you.
Here is the reply:
January 4, 2017 at 8:07 am
Thank you so much. I kept wondering if there was someone other than Gelinas, or that somehow Brebeuf had spun or twisted his way out of it.Very good! I also looked for “Roland”.

To paraphrase the Cumberbatch Sherlock – “Is it arrogance, if I’m actually better than everyone else?” Couldn’t resist. Yes, reluctantly, I have to get on board and say that this is one of Gamache’s faults. And it had the most disastrous results here – I think he really is not thinking he’s better than anyone else, but that he CAN contain things and not endanger others by telling them what he’s doing, but he has to know, on some level, that his enemies would hurt those he love in a New York second! So not telling them doesn’t protect them, it puts them at a great disadvantage. But he can’t help himself. I think it all stems back to his parents. If that little boy could have gone back and stopped his parents going out that night, he would certainly do it (wouldn’t we all?). Now, he thinks he’s in a similar situation where he knows something others don’t and he’s got to protect them. He just goes about it the wrong way in my opinion. I have to say that I was disappointed in him in this book – and that says a lot, because if I’ve ever been “in love” with a character, it’s Gamache – but he’d have done so much better if everyone around him wasn’t flying blind. It didn’t make any sense to me, and it still doesn’t. That doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book – masterfully written, in my opinion. It just means that here is one of those human foibles.

I agree about Reine Marie and Gamache, both being much more emotionally charged in this. I think with each book, we’re getting a more complete picture of Reine Marie, which I love.

The silencer was made in Tennessee.
Gamache supposed there had to be a partner and contact had to have been made between LeDuc and the partner but I found no record of that until the end as Cathryne has said.
It is interesting that AGR is about loss and despair and finding the way back from the dark places that we find ourselves in. Perhaps not a uncommon theme for Louise but pertinent don’t you think?
It is also about the triumph of kindness over cruelty. I have to believe in that.

Just after I wrote my last post I remembered a previous discussion we have had about fear and fences. Gamache’s fear for others and the need to protect them has him creating barriers, blocking people out of his plans. That creates fearful thoughts in others who then don’t understand why he acts the way he does, makes certain decisions, and that leads to suspicion and speculation. Jean Guy and Reine Marie were both left wondering what his relationship was with Choquet. Communication can be a much more effective way to protect someone than building walls.

I think you are like me Barbara and loathe to use a word like arrogance, which I too associate with those I do not like as it is not a nice trait, with Gamache. Arrogance is “an offensive attitude of superiority”, overbearing pride and exaggerated self importance”, none of which I associate with Armand. I think you are correct…overconfidence may well be the right way to describe Gamache’s error. Overprotective as well perhaps? Does that explain why he didn’t allow Jean Guy or anyone else into his plan? He delayed a long time asking Jean Guy to be his second at the Academy because he wanted to protect him. Is being overprotective actually damaging? Is it also underestimating others ability to have input and be useful? I do think that could be Gamache’s biggest fault. He keeps so much to himself because he fears involving others but that doesn’t give them due credit.

I’ve thought it over. Overconfident, yes. In my mind To be arrogant is to think you know best and more than anyone else. That because you are you, everyone else is a lesser being. I think Gamache’s fault, and it is a fault, is that he was overconfident and thought that because he had brought about some amazing events that he could manage this too. I don’t think that he felt no one else could contribute but that he was able to bring this off too. It was too much. What do
you think ? Everyone.

Good question Anna. I’m going to have a think on that. Arrogance? That is exactly the word I would use if Gamache were a person I disliked as I often call politicians arrogant.
Back with further thoughts later.

Arrogance, the sin with which we accuse LeDuc, is a word often leveled by detractors at Gamache. Do we think he is at all arrogant? Is that perhaps one of his faults? Certainly he thought he could control a very volatile situation having LeDuc and Brebeuf at the Academy. Is that arrogance or something else. I hate to criticize Gamache but at the same time, one of the reasons we love him is that he is human and so he makes mistakes. Any thoughts?

Oh right, I’d forgotten about the silencer –specially made in New York, wasn’t it? I guess that arrogance, along with being in league with the former top brass at the school and Surete (sorry no diacritics), made him think he would get away with it if it happened. Insightful answers, all!

I have been reading a book on Ancient Rome called SPQR in addition to AGR so plenty to get on with. Then I have Bellevue about the hospital. I am having an historical moment and of course Bury Your Dead.
As I read AGR I was thinking we see a broader emotional range from both Gamache’s….anger, tears….especially from Reine Marie who has been very controlled for most of the series.

Yes, I’m definitely going to have to reread. I have finished up all the Anne Perry novels in the Monk series, and the Pitt series hadn’t interested me as much, so, casting about for something, I found The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. I’d seen a TV movie years ago about her, with Angela Lansbury, I think. This was before Murder She Wrote. Anyway, I’d enjoyed the movie, so I read the book, which I liked even more, and have now embarked on that series. Very light, but still, quite entertaining. So I’ll need to finish my current one before I begin the reread, but that will happen in the next couple of days (they’re very fast reads – and yes, several days is very fast for me, hahaha)

Yes there was Barbara which was highly unusual as they usually don’t work very well on revolvers. It was a custom made one. I am rereading and it’s good.

Hi Mary! Happy New Year.
I have heard that in Russian roulette is that the players are using a swing chamber gun and they spin it they are relying on the weight of the bullet, if only one is loaded into the weapon, to pull it away from the chamber by virtue of gravity. It obviously doesn’t always work because people have dies playing the ‘game’.
I suspect a couple of things. One, LeDuc was extremely arrogant so may have felt confident that he could cover any death as an act of suicide. Perhaps he had once shown the victim his ‘collectible’ weapon and the unfortunate had used it recklessly. Or perhaps the weapon was suddenly theirs or someone else’s. Two, he was in league with Francouer so perhaps he felt he had enough cover in the Surete to cover any incidents.
After Gamache arrived, I wonder if he was going to find a way to blame Armand for any incidents. Perhaps plant evidence that would make Gamache look negligent for a death. He also had the assistance of his special cadets. They could have been used to cover any deaths. Move the body back to the deceased room and plant the weapon there perhaps??
Any one else have any ideas?

Cathryne – aren’t you smart? Now that I read what you’ve written I remember it all, hahaha. Why is my mind like that? I do worry sometimes, as I’ve taken to leaving the stove on as I leave the kitchen these days, which is NOT a good thing!

Mary – I love that question. I think I gave what I attempted as an answer to it when you first posed it, but I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts. I do think, realistically, he couldn’t possibly have tricked them into thinking it was loaded when it wasn’t, so sooner or later, you’d think someone would have died. And I guess he would have blackmailed the rest of the students there to agree with him that this deranged student burst in on them and shot himself in front of them all…?

Good idea, Julie. I enjoyed the book very much but am also dim on it by now. A reread would be a good way to start my 2017 reading. Most of the books I tried to read the last few months
have been returned to the library without more than a very few pages read. Some were even overdue. Something I very seldom do.
Anna, I laughed at your pie baking. I can’t imagine trying to remember everything to stock a kitchen for cooking. A wine bottle as a rolling pin was a good idea.
Hi, Vince. Glad you joined the Bistro.
It is strange how some things just don’t seem to “take” when entered into a computer, like Millie’s efforts to get LP’s newsletter. I’m having a problem with my email. I just don’t seem to
get some functions to work. Oh well, we all know that my computer skills are woefully lacking.
Hope my friends don’t think I’m ignoring them.
Another cloudy, rainy day here.

Welcome Vince and thank you Cathryne. I had parts of it, but you hit the nail on the head, I believe. There are hints along the way starting in the previous book of the meetings Gamache has with prospective new employers and serious conversations but it’s all very subtle.
I think I would like to re-listen to AGR also and pick up (or start) the discussion anew. For example, am I the only one who had no clue to where Brebouff had moved? Reine Mari knew!

But it’s late now, I think I’ll crawl under the crisp linens at the B&B tonight for tomorrow is another day to catch up.
Bonne nuit. 🙂

Hi everyone, and I hope we all have a Happy 2017 — since you’re starting again on AGR thoughts, let me repeat my previous question from the AGR thread: what would Leduc and the students have done if someone had actually killed themselves playing Russian Roulette? Could he have possibly rigged it somehow that they never would have done it? But how could he do that, surely he put a bullet in in full view of the group. How could he have possibly explained something like that away? Thoughts?

Yes, thank you. I noticed the subtlety, but thought it may be the author’s license to do so, rather than try to explain every detail, or leave openings for the future of the story.

Thanks Cathryne, I do check the junk folder regularly. Gmail has been giving me nothing but headaches lately. It locks up the computer and my devices wanting me confirm my passcode but won’t accept it and hotmail puts everything in the junk folder. I want to make sure I update profiles where I’ve registered with gmail (like here), change to another email (though I’m running out of options) and stop using it. First world problems as my sons say.

Barbara, thanks for mentioning the newsletter. I’ve signed up for it countless number of times but I just don’t receive it. So I owe you a debt of gratitude every month. (What would I do without you?) Then, I run off to search for it in her website. She is so wise to remind us to remember the good moments of the past year no matter the challenges it brought. Truth be told, there were many of both.

Well done Cathryne. I have been rereading up to the murder chapter. All I could find was Lacoste’s musings about the rumours of corruption to do with the building of the academy and a short allusion to LeDuc appropriating the land the town wanted.

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