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.

3,656 replies on “The Bistro”

Moment, not Monet! Got it! When I read the post my mind tried to imagine an art exam! I like the idea of analyzing a Monet painting, the real thing, of course, for an exam. Well, moving on…fingers crossed, powerful calm thoughts coming for you, Peter, and Erin at exam time. It’s her chance to shine, to show off a bit!

Could you all cross your fingers and think calming thoughts as Erin’s final state exams start today. She, and 77000 other students, will be all sweaty palmed this morning. Actually she has been quite calm but there may be butterflies as the Monet approaches in three hours. The exams go for three weeks and a bit so feel free to uncross the fingers periodically!!

Oh, don’t we all wish we lived where time was just what we needed it to be! I seem to always be in “catch up” mode… Yes, Millie – I see the gratitude that Jamie feels, and of course, that he never brutalizes Jamie in any way, unlike the Randall character. It WAS hard to read that part – and I will admit that I’ve only read these books once, and I’m pleased that, to a certain extent, the story line that bores me has been relegated to a side-route… I was reminded a lot of the plot points and other things by watching the TV series, which is very well done. And if you thought it was hard to READ the rape scene, it’s even harder to watch. And you are quite right – it’s a complete shredding of Jamie as a person – his whole being was broken, and had to be put back together again as best he could. Still, there was something in the idea that now he understood John Gray’s love BECAUSE of what Jack Randall had done to him – that’s in there for me, somehow, and maybe I’m putting it in and it came from my mind, not Diana Gabaldon’s. But it just seems to me not to be part of Jamie’s story… Small thing, and hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the rest of the books. Though I haven’t read them all by any stretch – on some level, they’re so big that they’re hard to hold while lying in bed, hahaha.

Julie, the character whose name you couldn’t remember was John Gray. Interesting view on that subplot. What I took from it was that Jammie felt a love born of gratitude towards John for offering to care for Jammie’s son and also the many times he helped his daughter, Briana. There was even mention of John Gray not wanting to risk his friendship with Jammie by making any sexual advances towards him.

I found the detailed description of Black Jack Randall’s torture of Jamie very hard to read. It was more than rape, it was meant to physically and brutally break the body and soul.

Anna, I have bookmarks to skip over that entire section. I too can’t stomach brutally and prefer character driven stories where if there is murder it’s not detailed.

Cathryn, I noticed the book you mentioned was number six in the series. Did you read the previous five?

Barbara, I haven’t forgotten your kind words of welcome. There’s so much more I’d like to comment on but that’s all I can do for now. Have to get ready for an eye appointment. Wish I lived where time was fluid like in Three Pines.

I had a look Millie. Always new medical advances bringing hope to someone thank goodness.
Interesting discussion about the role of female authors and nurturing. I love that Louise makes it ok to write about kindness, although balanced by darkness. It gave me permission to not follow the trend of brutality in so so many books. I couldn’t face reading them let alone writing one although I used to. I got tired of nastiness, there is too much of it around. So while there was a serial killer in The Cove he was kind of a background threat not the main focus of the novel really.
I have read loads of thrillers, crime novels, spy novels etc and what I look for now is characters I like and want to know more about and obviously I am not alone. I read Girl on a Train and my comment on finishing was that I felt nothing much for the characters even though the plot was ok. It was a major best seller so I gues there are plenty of people who were either content with that kind of book or read it out of curiosity like me.
I don’t know if it is just female authors that create sanctuaries but it certainly isn’t a feature of many books.

Oh, that’s really interesting, Anna. I read Girl on a Train and I liked it, mostly because of the convolutions of the plot. But I must say that I agree that I didn’t care about the characters. And really, when I think about it from that point of view, I SHOULD have cared, at least about the girl on the train! It was one of those books that I enjoyed while reading and then promptly forgot – and would never think of reading again. It’s often been compared to Gone Girl, but beyond the word “Girl”, I’m not so sure about that, either, hahaha. It was just a sales hook, I think. Gone Girl had a very involving plot, and of course, you CARED about the characters, but didn’t like them. Either of the main characters. Interesting way to think about this…

Millie – thank you for the article – that’s very encouraging, indeed. One of my doctors had told me there was an exciting new therapy being developed – maybe this is what he was talking about. I love that my doctors are aware of what’s the latest news.

It’s funny what you say about Diana Gabaldon. I love some aspects of her books, but the thing I got bored with was the whole side story of homosexual love between Jamie and a person (whose name I can’t remember), supposedly coming from his rape by “Black Jack Randall”. I don’t understand how you get any good thing coming from rape, and find the whole sub-story to be there for titillation’s sake, and not worth my time.

Julie, very interesting. Women are the nurturers. We try to create safe havens for our family and friends so it makes sense to me that some female authors would do the same for their readers. Except Diana Gabaldon – her prose is beautiful but must admit her detailed description of how the revolutionary war affected the main characters got very tiring for me.

So is it the generation, or the writer? Thanks for something to ponder as we clean up the yards of palm fronds. 😉

What great news, Millie – safe and sound, all of you, including your homes! As I was reading Anna’s note about the Bistro being a haven from all the “real” in the world, I was reminded of something that Jane Austen scholars talk about quite a lot. The fact that there is never any mention of war (beyond a vague reference such as the “bounty” in Persuasion, and the presence of officers encamped nearby, but never in any danger of having to fight in Pride and Prejudice) in her books, yet the Napoleonic wars were going on all the time she was writing her books which are always assumed to be set in her present. We often wonder if women were shielded from it all, but in reality, Jane had at least two brothers who were sailors and involved in fighting, and Jane corresponded with both during their service and was more than informed on what was going on. Did she want to create a safe haven for her heroines? I’d like to think so.

Thanks Anna. I’m right there with you about our ever-safe haven. But we’re home safe, the house is safe and sound, and have power and water. Very strict building codes here for which I’m very grateful. I’d love to write more but I’m so tired… More tomorrow. Blessings and love to all.

Thank goodness Millie that you and your whole family, including your son, are safe. I am very glad you evacuated and even more glad that you can return. Fingers crossed for a life that returns to some sense of normality as soon as possible.
Hasn’t it been a crazy year. So many ups and downs and life twisting events. I am so glad that when the world goes pear shaped the Bistro is always an oasis of peace and calm. Something to be said for a virtual place that can never be affected by storms or hardships, where the fire never goes out and the refreshments neverending. I wasn’t one for living in virtual spaces before but this one is a blessing. The best thing is, no matter where you are in the world, your friends are right with you.

On our way home. My son is safe and sound as is his family and home. Yay. Hopeing to find our home AOK, but have 3 hours or more depending on traffic.

I can’t thank you all enough for your outpouring of support and love. It means a lot.

Thanks a lot for the book suggestion, Cathryne. Will download it as soon as we get home.

More later, typing with one finger on a phone in a moving vehicle is harder than I thought. lol

It is wonderful to know you are safe Millie. I am very sad about your eyes but remain hopeful some treatment will be of benefit. You have an amazing attitude and I do hope you can feel our love and support.

I meant to ask about the “new” reader for Gamache books. I think he started with TNOTB? Has he lived up to Ralph Cosham? Or as best anyone can?

Oh, Millie – this is terrible news! I didn’t realize there was nothing they could do to fix it. While you’re still seeing well, you should get some voice-enabled things for your computer experience. I know the voice recognition stuff on my phone and Kindle are amazingly good. And there ought to be very affordable text-to-speech software available too – probably just apps you’d download to a smart phone. Getting things in place and getting familiar with them will probably help transitions when the time comes – just as you say about being used to audio books.

I know that I, too, am grateful to Paul for the Bistro and all of you who come in to take a seat by the fire (This Bistro is magical in that we can ALL have a seat by the fire, no matter how many we are). Keep coming in and keeping us up to date, Millie…

Millie, I’m so glad you posted and that you are safe. I’ve been thinking about you as I’ve watched the storm coverage.

“Freaking out moment” indeed. Calmer, sad, mad, disappointed.
Next, amazing woman, looking at what you are grateful for and enjoying the small wonderful moments through each day. And, of course, granddaughters, those beautiful pansy faces. Thank heavens for hands and fingers to feel the soft curves of smiles, frowns, and funny faces. And to feel and wipe tears.

I don’t want to minimize your situation, but I do hope the doctors can slow the progression from rapid to as slow as possible.

Yes, audible books! It does take time to get used to listening, nice to already be there. I have listened to A Great Reckoning four times now (!) and I have read it once, the first time. I’m listening to the new Tana French book, The Trespasser, right now. It’s very engrossing, almost enough to blot out a hurricane! The reader is quite wonderful.

I send my best thoughts, hugs and hand-holding during this hard time. I hope you are in a comfortable, even interesting place as you wait out the storm.

Hello everyone, we are safe in Southwest FL. A friend of Mike’s coworker lives in our area so keeping us informed of conditions around home. All’s well. Kennedy Space Center is AOK, too. Just waiting for bridges to reopen to the barrier islands so we can go home to life as normal. 😀
Sorry the weather reports have scared so many people. Ratings seem more important than truth I guess. My mom, in CA, was frantic. Poor thing…

As for my eyes, one day I’m seeing better than since I was 12, the next week… WTF??? The blood veins to my eyes are getting blocked so not enough oxygen to some areas which have lost vision already. No known cure but they can try to slow its rapid progression. I’m really glad I already am used to audio books. After my initial freaking out moment, I’m calmer.
Incredibly sad but resigned.

Trying to be grateful for all the wonders I have seen, especially my granddaughters. Stay positive and enjoy all the little things we usually take for granted.
That’s all I can manage for now.

Except a special THANK YOU, PAUL for enriching our lives by creating a space where new friendships were born.

Much love and gratitude to all.

Cute story Peg. Good pups for not touching the book.
Following news and weather and thinking of everyone in Mathew’s path. Millie said she evacuated and would try and let us know but no word yet. It meant she didn’t get treatment for her eyes sadly.

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