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”

Heeellllllooooo Nancy! How nice to see you. Of course you want to meet her and be her best friend because she is a lovely inspirational woman and who doesn’t want people like that for friends. I am very glad that Louise has given me all of you in her stead. I suspect she has as big a social circle as she can deal with right now.
I definitely have it on my list to be at one of her events next year. Pete had a great time and Louise was generous with hers. It must be exhausting to do all of that travel and talking and meeting so many new people. I am grateful she does it but I do hope she is an extrovert and draws lots of energy from such things. I would be wiped out!
One thing I have learned from moving a lot is that true friends are happy for any minute they spend with you no matter how long that is or much time there is between those minutes. It makes for a very relaxing relationship.

Hi Everyone!

It’s Friday and tomorrow, Saturday, is when Louise is appearing at Costco in Colchester, Vt to sign books. Oh how I’d love to be there. We often visit that store on our trips to Montpelier…however..it is usually extremely busy. I hope that there have been arrangements made to aid in parking and traffic flow because it can be a zoo even on an ordinary day. With Louise there I don’t even like to think about it. I know. I’m a coward. Paul, please tell me someone has taken care of this?? (Maybe buses from Shaws parking lot across the road??)

I keep telling myself that I met her years ago when she interviewed the End Of Your Life Bookclub guy at McGill so I should be happy and let others enjoy meeting her. But secretly I’d still like to be her best friend. How about the rest of you? Anna? Millie? Julie? Sigh.

It’s been a long day and I’m too tired to even try to wrap my brain around your questions, Anna. But I do have the energy to thank you, Barbara and Julie and anyone else who silently welcomed me ‘back’, made me laugh and enjoy the warmth of ‘belonging’. Laughter. a priceless gift. 🙂

I am a great West Wing fan as it is cleverly written and superbly acted. It has humour and drama and depth. Like Louise.
You are correct about Hemmingway sounding less hopeful. I thought he was harsh….hence the Ruth less comment. But is he right? Do we all have to be broken? Can we get through life dented but not fractured? Are we really stronger afterwards? What if you keep braking in the same place?

Anna – you are the cleverest person to be able to tie such things together… Are you watching West Wing to get ready for Washington? Have you ever seen Born Yesterday with Judy Holliday? I think it’s 1950 – here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI8jeq6VOiI This is the movie I’d watch before visiting DC. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Judy was so very wonderful! The more I watch it, the more I enjoy it – especially the gin playing scene.

Anyway – how cool that you made that connection. Hemingway’s thoughts somehow have less hope than Louise’s, though, and seem prophetic, don’t they? The thing that’s amazing about Louise is the hope she conveys through everything, and when you see even a glimpse of her everyday life, and know how she is constantly “surprised by joy”, it’s inspiring.

Oh, Millie, there are tears in my eyes. I’m the original “heart on her sleeve” girl – people could crush me in an instant, and some have. Luckily, I do rise from the rubble – I must be a Phoenix, haha. Here in the bistro, I feel that we have all signed on for kindness and understanding. Of all the places in the world, here is where I know I will be made to feel welcome and understood. I know it’s not really a “place”, but it definitely feels like it. And it IS a community. Please don’t stay away on account of feeling like you have nothing positive to say on this or that occasion. Someone here WILL have something positive and it’s bound to be just what you need to hear. Okay, now I hear Norah Jones singing “Come away with me”, so I must have reached my limit of trite for the day. (and in my first post!)

Ah Millie….so true. We rail against change, all of us and yet it is an everyday event. I so understand what you are saying and I think we have all been there. Isn’t it lovely that Bistro itself doesn’t change. The warmth and comfort are always there. Louise created Three Pines as the place to go when we want to be kind. The Bistro is the place to go when we need kindness. I am glad you are here.

Thank you Paul for the link. Just what I needed. There’s been a lot of stress in my life this year (again) and just when I thought it was safe to dive back into the waters of a more social life and share the warmth of the Bistro, more emotional sharks appeared this week. When stressed, I can’t eat anything but soup and French bread so finding a new soup recipe is just the encouragement I needed to stay involved here and venture past my front door in search of yellow peas. 🙂

But besides that, there was a line from the blog about Myrna talking to Gamache about living a still life that shook my core: ” stunted growth … an aversion to interior change that allows evil to flourish in one’s soul.” Not that I believe evil is flourishing in my soul but a deep sadness was certainly settling in. If not depression, certainly the inability to find joy in each day. Or, as Gamache tells Peter at the end of Trick of the Light, to expect a miracle everyday. I certainly didn’t feel I could offer anything positive. Even worse, I had forgotten the cardinal rules of:
I’m sorry.
I was wrong.
I need help.
I don’t know.
Sorry I didn’t participate more.
Wrong to think if I shared my thoughts they would come out with a negative, off putting twist.
Help in the form of just feeling part of this group is OK even when life is difficult at the moment and I’m not up to chatting.
And most important, I really ‘don’t know’ what to do sometimes with the seemingly endless turmoil and ‘inner change’ these past four years have demanded of me…

Thank you Paul for this place of refuge and To All for keeping the fire of comfort going.

Anna, you are a master of tying strings together. But I don’t see it so much as ruthless rather echoes of Gamache repeating often that we can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven with the added twist of ‘we must die before we are reborn’. Not necessarily physically but parts of our ego? The monkey mind that is constantly beating us up with negative self talk, self abuse. Like, “Your not good enough,” till we face a situation where we feel broken after dealing with whatever we just had to face. We feel broken because we had to change our self image. The world keeps changing and so must we, but the ego fights to keep the status quo tooth and nail. Which has led me to my next post. I wrote it right after seeing the link but was hesitant to post. But what the heck.

The point I was going to make was, “Can you imagine the hell it must be to live a long life without embracing change?”

I was following Paul’s link, which made me think about How the Light Gets In (the first book the blogger read), and an old episode of West Wing begins. How are the two related you may well ask?
I had the lines from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem playing in my head:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

And against that l had Martin Sheen quoting Hemmingway from a Farewell to Arms:

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

We must break to survive and indeed be stronger. Tempered by life as it were. What interests me is Hemmingway’s fate for those who will not break. Sounds ruthless (is that Freudian?).

I enjoyed that, Paul – I hope she is going to do other books, too. Just as I enjoy the thoughtful posts on The Night is a Strawberry, looking at the books through food is a very satisfying way to go about it all…

An excellent read Paul. Thank you. Its always interesting to hear what others think of Louise, particularly those who came to Three Pines so far into the series. Not surprised that it was the food that bought her back!!

I agree Peg. Similarities in the prickly way they interact with the world…..reject before it rejects you.
I spoke only briefly to Pete so didn’t get a big debrief on the book launch. He said it was really good, as you would expect, and that he found it interesting to hear about the discipline Louise brings to writing. As she was a journalist she is used to being disciplined with writing. At the beginning she sets herself a 200 a day word count and increases it as she moves forward. 200 words…sometimes we write almost that much in a post!
Hopefully I can talk more to Pete tomorrow as I was at an appointment with Dad after he had finished his evening our down times didn’t really intersect.

I hope your Petey feels better Barbara and happy birthday to Carol. It’s my mum’s birthday on Saturday. I have no idea what to get her, she already has chocolates this week.
I think Bean is growing and changing so perhaps e won’t see them for a little while as when we do we would know the secret?
I too was thinking about Nichol. It was interesting seeing her again in Bury Your Dead as her view of the world is always quite a different one.
The phone call is a bit like “the night is a strawberry” interactions. Love it.
Will report more on the book launch after I speak to Pete again but he is at the Canadians tonight…..fitting I think.

Hi, Peg. Yes that is the call. How frustrating when it happens to me, but so funny when it is someone else.
I wondered about Nicol too. I also missed Bean. I had thought we might have a bit of info on him/her even if he/she weren’t present. No way to write such a flawless book and include all the back characters I suppose.

I’m just so pleased that Pete met Louise – the picture you sent us was amazing, Anna. I’m curious to hear what he thought of her talk, etc., and to know what she wrote to you… you must be all excited.

Well, the last half went in one gulp! I got to the point where I couldn’t not find out the next thing, it was just too hard! Finished at four this morning! (to be fair, I didn’t start until 1) Amazing and wonderful, and awful! I can’t wait to start talking about it… Paul – do you want to promote a start day and see if you get any new “takers”? Or should we just figure out among ourselves when to start? I think we need to give it a bit more time yet, of course – people have to had time to have the books mail-ordered to them, and then to read it at a normal pace, I think.

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