LOUISE PENNY’S

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”

Thank you for posting the questions Paul. We will get to them. I am sure you are saddened as we are by Michael’s passing but ever more so as they are people in your life. Thinking of you too at this time.

Thanks for the link, Anna. What a nice write-up. How sad for Michael’s family to lose both him and his sister Carol so close together.

Thank you Cathryne. I had no internet all day so sorry for the slow response. Thank you for reminding us of those delightful images of Michael.
I loved what Louise wrote….he gave it all away.

Thanks for the information, Julie. I hadn’t seen the post, the news was shared with Louise’s customary warmth and wisdom and generosity in allowing others to offer their support, and their thanks for being allowed to go along on the journey Michael’s illness included.
I have smiled many times remembering a moment Louise described- as she buttoned Michael’s sweater, he reached out to try to button hers. So sweet and loving.
Anna, I’m sending best thoughts to you and your mom. Hope, too, that your dad is feeling better and seeing better.

I just read Julie’s words. My mouth dropped open and I was shocked. I had no internet at home. I am sitting holding my mothers hand and was quickly catching up on everything. Special poignancy for me in this moment. I have gone quite teary.
Of course we all send our love to Louise. There is nothing else we can give her.

I have just read on Louise’s facebook page that Michael passed away last night. Our Lady of Grief seems very apropos right now.

For me, reference of the worst was coming was a signpost that another struggle for Gamache would be unraveling soon. But the reference of snow angels gave me hope that he would also find goodness and kindness.

Hello all. It’s been a busy few weeks with birthdays but I get a week’s reprieve before it starts again, so taking advantage of free time to pop in with greetings and just a few comments.

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t bring myself to reread (actually relisten) to TNOTB. At first I thought it was the new narrator, but Julie, you phrased my feelings perfectly. Barbara, I too think this is my new favorite.

I remembered Notre Dame de Roof Trusses and the Cruelest Month as soon as I saw the name, but didn’t want to stop listening to the book, as I did party prep, to look up the page. Thanks Cathryne for the location. I remember it being a very funny scene I’d like to revisit.

My take on as why Gamache didn’t tell Beauvoir more… Gamache trusted only Isabelle and Jean-Guy with the information of wanting the four cadets to go to Three Pines. And what does John-Guy do in a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner? He mentions the cadets at ‘the village’, then gives Gamache an apologetic look. Neither Gamache nor Isabelle answer Gelinas questions about what village but try to change the topic.

That would certainly give me pause to give Jean-Guy more information that could slip out at a most inopportune time. Not out of mistrust or a desire to protect JG, but more because JG has been through a lot and is only weeks away from becoming a father – another life changing experience that distracts the mind. Louise even hints at this when she has JG thinking ‘darn pregnancy’ (as if he was the one pregnant) is causing his discomfort.

Also, why on Earth would Isabelle take Gelinas to Three Pines so quickly after the cadets and Gamache arrived there. Surely she could have come up with a stall tactic. Then she let’s Gelinas take over the investigation during meetings. Gamache expressly told her she must prevent that. Yet she remains quiet while Gelinas makes accusation after accusation that Gamache is guilty of more and more things. Gelinas is supposed to watch, not take over… I can almost see Gamache coming to the conclusion that perhaps it’s best to keep things close to his vest. I loved the thoughts going through Isabelle’s mind when she meets the mayor: he wasn’t at all as she imagined but then realized Gamache hadn’t described him physically, only his character… It made me realize how much I ‘fill in’ when reading.

Louise gave me lots of reasons why Gamache acts the way he does in this book… and as Anna said, the exigencies of this story demand it be told as it was. I certainly would not have felt the power of the climactic scene with Brebeuf had Gamache been throwing out hints along the way simply to bring Isabel and JG up to date. But it took days of pondering for me to realize a big theme is “don’t believe everything you think”. So telling the story in a way that keeps the other’s in the dark shows everyone, even RM, thinking the wrong thing…

All that said, “don’t believe everything I thought.” Just my personal mental ramblings. It’s only what I got from this story and I loved it.

Barbara – thanks for pointing out the link to the reading questions – I hadn’t noticed them there before… so here’s the first one: “The worst was coming. But so was the best. The snow angels were coming,” Gamache reflects in the first chapter. Aside from evoking the chill of November, what expectations do these lines raise about the story to come?

I barely remember this “snow angels” reference – and a description of the children outside making them. And, of course, I think we’re supposed to think of something more sinister. Angel of Death comes to mind, though I’m not quite sure why – maybe because snow marks the beginning of winter, when the vegetation dies… the circle of life, Hakuna Matata… oh – sorry, slipped into a trough of clichés there… It’s slippery in the winter!

In general, the idea of making snow angels is a happy, comforting memory of childhood – but I wonder if, by also putting it at the end of the day (I think it was twilight) and “The worst was coming”, we aren’t supposed to be a little frightened of whoever the snow angels are. Beyond that, I’m stumped, but I know you guys will figure it out for me…

Thank you, Cathryne – I was just so sure I’d heard of it somewhere. I almost feel like it must be true, if Louise has used it twice – and yet, of course, there’s nothing on the internet (which as we know is all-knowing and all-seeing) hahaha. You CAN, however, find out about Roof Trusses in Notre Dame in Paris, or – get this, Roof Trusses in a place called Notre Dame de Ham!

I am so glad you did.
Gamache is such an interesting character but I feel we still have a lot to learn about how he thinks and feels. Jean Guy has been laid bare to us in many ways especially through his battle with addiction. There is a lot more vulnerability to Armand than is easily recognisable at first and he manages that through controlling and protecting. But in some ways that makes him even more vulnerable.

Anna, I looked it up when I was reading AGR because I was sure the name had been mentioned in an earlier book. I have all the books on kindle as well as in hardback so I can find parts when I want to. It’s one of the best things about kindle!

Thanks Cathryne! Brilliant work. Did you remember that or have you been detectiving! New word, roll with it. Either way, well done you!

Anna and Julie, I like your ideas about why Gamache behaved as he did and I need to think about them further. It has seemed like a key question, starting early in the book.

Hi, Anna and Julie. Yes, the town called, Notre-Dame-de-Roof-Trusses is mentioned in The Cruelest Month, pp. 78-79. Gamache and Beauvoir pass through it as they drive to Hazel’s home.

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