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”

I know, Anna – I’m such a wimp at this sort of thing. She is such a nice person, and I know she doesn’t want me to be so uncomfortable – everyone there just forgets that not everyone can stand the heat! I had thought of offering some money – but worry that that will be weird… Right at the beginning (every time I go to Utah now, it’s assumed I’ll stay there), I said I was happy to stay at a hotel, but she really wanted me to stay with her (can you blame her? hahaha). I don’t want to make things awkward. I will handle it, though – even though this is probably the last visit ever, because the guild that is there is disbanding in September – this is their last hurrah! I’ll figure it out, though, because I really want to be able to sleep while I’m there…

Yuk to backed up plumbing and the heat. Hope everything is ok now Barbara.
Another opportunity to practise asking for what you need Julie. Maybe acknowledge your friends kindness but offer to pay a few dollars to help her run the air con overnight so you are well rested to teach your class. How could she refuse!
Haven’t seen cook book yet. Will look

Did you all see the little cookbook that has just come out? It’s got all the “Nature of the Feast” recipes in it, as well as a few extra recipes from the some of the books, AND as a bonus – a sneak peek at The Great Reckoning…. I’ve decided not to read it – as it will just make me crazy, hahaha.

Oh, so glad you got that fixed, Barbara – what a mess! And to have to keep disinfecting, and cleaning and “mucking out” during the unbearable heat is too much! I just can’t manage in real heat – am not looking forward to my trip next week to Utah – Salt Lake City. I don’t know what I was thinking, agreeing to teach this class in the dead of summer! Of course, all the places I’ll be will be air conditioned, but I’m thinking of the nights… I have a friend there, who’s a dear person, but she is for one thing, used to the heat, and for another, her bedroom is in the shaded back part of the house, so she turns off the A/C at night and opens her windows. Her guest bedroom is in the sunny, front part of the house, and once the A/C goes off, the ceiling fan just moves around hot air all night! I’ve always sweltered at night there, yet I never like to ask someone to do something that will make them uncomfortable in their own home… I might just have to break down and do it this time, though, if record temperatures continue. This week, the temps there have been in the 100’s. Next week, when I’m there, it’s supposed to be mid-90’s – which people who live there are used to, but I certainly am not! Ah well – it’s only a few days… and I’ll appreciate the lower Seattle temps even more! It’s supposed to be about 84 today, and that is too hot for me!

Phew. Plumbing problem from washing machine drain. Water was backing up in kitchen sink when washer was spinning out. Ugh. I had to keep disinfecting the sink. The plumber went on the roof and moved the junk all out. Also, the same company will install everything we need done in the bathrooms. As a teenager Sam and his family moved into a new house across from the founders of the plumbing company. They are both deceased now, but the family keeps up their standards. Maybe, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I would love to be able to say “cold and wet” here. The heat, humidity and lack of rain has resulted in damage to our lawns, shrubs and even larger trees.
Good luck to Erin as she continues.

Thanks Barbara. Survived first two. Yay. I hope you find a plumber Sam will use and the renovations are soon complete.
Cold and wet again. We had to be out early so have headed to our ‘Bistro’ for breakfast.

Good Luck to Erin. Hope she is well soon. Last items for baths came yesterday. The bad news is that the man Sam had planned on using doesn’t do plumbing anymore. I’ll have to get behind Sam and push him towards someone else. Hope everyone has a great day.

Oh, no! Not the dreaded lurgy! I know she’ll do great as soon as she gets in there. Good luck to you, Erin!

So glad you had that opportunity Julie. Fingers crossed we all will at some stage…maybe even together.
Speaking of fingers crossed…Erin is starting her exams in an hour. Please send calming thoughts in her direction. She has worked hard but has been struck down by the dreaded lurgy in the last few days. Remember the lurgy? Anyway she is holding up well but I do feel for her.
I think I will rewatched some LP videos too…she always makes me feel as though good things are forever possible.

Thank you, Anna, for the link. I feel like watching all these interviews, and the one time I got to see Louise in person, has been like an ongoing conversation with Louise. She just makes you all feel like you’re her friends, and such a funny, and generous person in real life.

Renovations are always lovely…once they are done. The process isn’t much fun though. Sitting here looking at my library wondering if I should strip the wall paper and paint the walls instead. It would look better for sure but ugh.
Did you find the video Pat? I enjoy listening to Louise talk about her writing. Pete is lucky that he will hear her in DC.

Yipee, Barbara – sounds like things are going along now… I bet you can’t wait for the renovations to be done – I always hated having to do without a bathroom or kitchen when Vern was working on those rooms.

Wow! Sam bought the rest of the items for the bathrooms renovation this AM. He is having them delivered from the store. I am so relived. He was talking last night about renting a truck and doing it himself. He has a hard time accepting his age.
I checked online and liked the same items he did. I should have thought of that myself since I had ordered the base for the TV from a place I found online. They are in Canada.

Hi, Pat. The depth of LP’s writing is amazing. I have learned to read more carefully than I do when I do read the “Light cozies”. The rich character development and serious plots are very welcome. We enjoy discussing LP and her family too. We all come from different geographical locals and are at various stages in our lives. This enables many viewpoints. It is surprising at the amount of material that can be discussed from one scene in a book.
Please join in whenever you want. Perhaps, you would like to add a few personal notes or comment when someone else does. Other authors and books are sometimes discussed as we are ardent readers.
Anna and Julie are wonderful with sharing info.
I’m without a computer right now, but will soon make up mmy mind about what to buy. For now, I’m using my sister’s and sometimes go to the branch library.
Glad you joined us Three Piners.

I went and rewatched the video interview with Louise that I thought would address your question best Pat. It is from 2013 when How The Light Gets In was released. Like Julie said, Louise describes it best so it is worth listening too. The question of how the story arcs develop is 55 mins 48 secs into the video but is also addressed a little more a couple of minutes later so watch at least from there on if you don’t have an hour to see the whole thing.
Essentially you will discover that Still Life was written, probably without any conception of more books to follow. By book five, A Brutal Telling, she had an idea of how the underlying story arc would end.
I will post a link to the video in my next post as sometimes links take a while to be moderated and appear. It is the Salon Appel video just in case.

Welcome Pat. As. Julie said, this is a great place to ask questions or just talk about Louise and her books. We have been doing that for a number of years now so we talk about other things as well while we wait in between releases.
You may be interested in listening to Louise talk about her writing process and the themes in her books. There are a number of videos on YouTube if you google her that are fascinating. Louise has had such a life of darkness and light and she is amazingly honest in her discussion of these things. I am not surprised it brings a great depth to her novels as she is capable of deep introspective thought and is brave enough to share elements of herself in her work.
please feel free to share any thoughts you have or ideas you which to ponder. We are happy to ponder with you.

Hi, Pat – this is a good place to talk about Louise’s books. When we started out, that’s all we talked about, but as we had done an in-depth discussion of each book, and finally found ourselves just waiting for the next one, a year away, we just kind of kept showing up here to see if anyone was around to chat. We began to talk about our lives and other books, and all kinds of things while we waited, but this is primarily a Louise Penny site. We consider ourselves as Three Piners, sitting around the Bistro, waiting for Gabri, Clara, Reine Marie – whoever – to show up and get us going again. So come on in, sit down and let’s discuss!

Nobody but Louise could actually answer how far head she has sorted out plot points, of course, but I did hear her say in an interview once that she had the basic story arc of the corruption in the Surete worked out “in general”, but that when she did each book, the nuances came out and she told the story that needed telling at that moment. We were all a little bit worried when How the Light Gets In was over, because, one – how do you top that? And two – what now? But Louise has been able to bring new stories and new challenges without having to change who Gamache is or leave behind the characters we love. It’s been wonderful. I agree that the seriousness of the stories i s amazing – these look at first glance like they will be light little “cozies”, but they are serious books discussing BIG ISSUES – but with so much entertainment, suspense and wit, that it doesn’t seem above my “paygrade” if you will. How she does this is a big mystery to me, but she does it very, very well.

I have a question about the Gamache series, but wonder if this is the right place, since the latest few pages of comments seem to be people chatting about their own lives. And maybe this is something well-known, but not to me: I wonder how far ahead Louise Penny plans her plots — that is, for example, when she was writing the section about the raid in the factory, or Jean-Guy’s addiction following that, had she imagined that incredibly painful final scene between him and Gamache in the woods in HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN? The density of the threads of character development and psychological meaning in these books is just remarkable. For that reason, first among others, I think I would rate these as among the best philosophically serious fiction I have ever read.

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