Gamache Series Open Discussion

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.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Cathryne Spencer says:

    I’m already interested! Sounds like a fascinating idea. Keep translating. How about the services of a doctoral student who needs to earn some money? Must be someone around who could help. Our next door neighbor is in poor health now, but he used to be a fine translator.

  2. Cathryne Spencer says:

    How dear of your sons to sing one of the songs from Into The Woods for you!

  3. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Both above for Millie. I forgot to use your name. I hope things stay in place so the comments make some sense!

  4. Anna says:

    I do for one. You have me intrigued. The Popes are such a fascinating bunch, like all kinds of royalty there is buckets of intrigue. And I love the medieval period. Right Millie, I am now waiting!

  5. Anna says:

    I love Cathryne’s suggestion too, a doctoral student is a good idea.

  6. Millie says:

    It’s one of those nights that sleep just wasn’t happening so I just got up, spent about 20 minutes trying to calm my mind (I was way out of my comfort zone saying anything about my ‘novel’) with the repetive and soothing motions of weaving till I calmed down hoping my post would go unnoticed being a holiday but thought I’d check here before laying back down for another go at sleep…

    I think I know now a little of what Anna was feeling. But in my case it’s more like, “You like the concept? Really? Oh. My. Gosh.”

    Cathryne, your comments stayed in place and thank you! I never would have thought of asking a grad student to translate it. And my younger son and his wife may be able to help me find one and the University of Central Florida where they still have friends.

    Anna, thank you for asking just the right question – spice? Knowing more about that particular Pope is the the ‘spice’ I’m missing. My mom attended a big family gathering years ago in CA & I knew a Spanish history professor would be attending so I asked her to inquire if he knew anything about this Pope and tell him why. His reply was, “So little is known about him that your daughter could just make anything up.” Humm… Yes, I plan to ‘make things up, like him being an ancestor of my character, but making it all up? That seemed like cheating too much. I wanted something to be based on facts! And I, too, love the Medieval period.

    Fitting that I took a chance on ‘Easter’ to reveal something about my idea: when rebirth is celebrated.

    Thank you both, more than you’ll ever know!

  7. Anna says:

    I think writing a character “based upon” someone is perfectly legit. This is fiction, not a biography after all. I do understand the need for authenticity but I have found that you have to be careful not to ignore your imagination! Spread your wings and borrow what you need from the period and invent the rest, that is what imagination is for after all.

    I got very bogged down at times by my desire to be authentic. Then I started to treat the process like painting or drawing. You don’t need to sketch in every detail, broad strokes, shadows and suggestion leave so much more room for the reader to fill in the detail and thus become part of the story themselves.

    Maybe paint your medieval characters with broader strokes, hint at the richness and detail and let everyone’s imagination out to play??

  8. Millie says:

    Good point, Anna. The main female character knows since childhood of an ancestral tie but just starts to find out more about who and his importance to the family and their riches as the story unfolds. And there are a lot of greedy people she comes across. Who can she really trust?

    Ok folks, this little bird may spread her wings yet. Baby flaps do turn into soaring effortlessly with thermals under the wings. I just have to keep believing that someone other than me might find it interesting after all.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Millie, Really , The Medieval Era, a little known pope, a mystery also. How wonderful……You’re going to write a book just for me! I can totally see people wanting to read it. I have friends who, like me, will enjoy reading that combination. No pressure intended but I’m ready when you are.

  9. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Anna, a Platypus. How cute. I remember learning about the duckbilled platypus as a young child. I couldn’t wait to share the new found and astounding news with one and all. My family, bless them, all reacted with great enthusiasm if I remember correctly. Any chocolate Roos ?

  10. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Hi Gigi and Welcome to The Bistro. Sorry to be so long posting to you. This week has been too busy for my tastes so I write only quick little blurbs.
    I would like to meet Louise Penny but doubt that I will unless she comes here to the Deep South, Georgia. Atlanta maybe someday. I started reading her books when I saw a review on Still Life when it was first published. I feel very fortunate about that. When the reread of the books was announced last Spring, I thought it an interesting idea. I was very hesitant to post as I didn’t think anything I wrote would be worthwhile. Everyone made me so welcome that I lost my fear. The only time I had ever participated in a discussion online was when Barnes and Noble had a wonderful site some years ago.
    I’m so glad I plunged in. Then The Bistro was set up following the reread so we can stay in touch while waiting for the next book.
    I look forward to reading more posts from you. I love Canada but have only visited Ontario Province a few times with organizations my husband and I belong to.

  11. Millie says:

    The Power of the Bistro
    Barbara, I got a few hours sleep. I must say I laughed when I read you live in the ‘Deep South’, Georgia. I always joke with my husband that we life too far South to be really Southern. You have to go to really Northern Florida to be ‘Southern’. ;-)

    And, I must confess, I shed quite a few tears of relief that you’d be interested in my story. Not to press the point of Easter being a time of rebirth and renewal (at least for the Northern Hemisphere), but your words, along with those of Cathryne and Anna, left me feeling as though I had ‘died and gone to heaven’. I really am floating on the proverbial cloud nine.

    I feel complete. My greatest dream was to be a mommy (now doubled since I’m also a Nana), I have a husband who is my knight in shining armoire and has been since the day we met in our mid 20’s – is there any doubt why I love the Medieval period… :-) And now to find my general premise is applauded, not ridiculed, is such a relief. Such a joy. The rest is ‘just’ putting words on paper. Not that I want to hurry the process in any way, but IF I were to pass away tomorrow, I would have no regrets. How many people can honestly say that?

    The ‘Bistro’ truly is a magical place – a place where kindness exists. How could it be otherwise? We came together because we like Louise’s books. We’ve stayed together because we found we liked each other and our collective supportive nature too much to be separated.

    And a big ‘thank you’, Paul for keeping the Bistro alive and the warm fire glowing. I echo Anna’s feeling, ‘bet you never imagined how many lives this place would touch in such positive ways…’

    • Anna says:

      Knight in shining armoire……Husband in a wardrobe. Rolling on the floor laughing Millie! Erin says brilliant….he must be from Narnia!!

      • Anna says:

        Sorry….wasn’t being insensitive. I love your comment. I only spotted that when I was re reading and it created such a delightful image. Somehow even more appealing than armour!

        • Millie says:

          Not insensitive at all. After I reread my own post I realized my oops. That’s what I get for allowing the auto fill options to finish typing out what it thinks I meant to say. I just rolled my eyes. Hadn’t thought of Narnia, tho. Tell Erin she’s brilliant. Love her sense of humor. (PS: in the US it’s spelled without the ‘u’, just to complicate things. :-)

  12. Paul Hochman says:

    You’re all very welcome. It’s because of all of you that the Bistro is so magical.

  13. Millie says:

    To all, but especially to Paul, just discovered this terrific article why readers are such nice people! If possible please point this article out to Louise, if she hasn’t already seen it. There’s a sentence that is about ‘great writers’ which is absolutely true about Louise and her books. Enjoy.

    • Julie says:

      Millie – that’s a brilliant article. It helps to articulate something I’ve discovered about the Jane Austen society and fringe groups that I belong to: Readers are readily willing to accept a world constructed by someone else, and actually want to go live there! Those who want to live in Three Pines are so close to my heart. And so are those who want to live in Pemberly! :D

  14. Millie says:

    I agree Julie. I thought we Three Piners could identify… And that’s the whole point. As readers we don’t start out a discussion with everyone thinking the same way but we can accept different points of view graciously while holding on to our own. And in the process, we all gain tremendously, not only in the understanding of the book, but also of those whom we encounter in ‘real life’.

  15. Anna says:

    According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

    This Millie! The characters actually need to have room to be completed by the readers so the reader can be part of the story, filling in the detail and creating the character for themselves in a way.

    • Millie says:

      That was what I was referring to in the article that I thought Louise (and you) do so well. If I knew everything about Lily she wouldn’t intrigue me as much as she does. And Mattie, too. And the entire Cove! Like we are always wanting to know more about characters in Louise’s books. I’m thrilled we get to know more about Ruth soon. All we really know is she arrived young, was married and he died and writes poetry. Yet we adore her! Talk about broad strokes.

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