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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”

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.

Exactly, Barbara – and having everyone jump on her is awful. I kind of think that whatever they want to say about him is fine – he signed on, but she didn’t. I expect it will blow over pretty quickly, but it can’t have been a pleasant experience for her. I don’t think she’ll be giving any more speeches.

Julie, I agree that we don’t want Trump for prs. but really. That poor woman only said what she was told to say. It makes me wonder that someone working for Trump is not. As the saying goes, this (being First Lady) was not in her job description.

Anna, that is so well-put! We have instant “gratification” in so much of our lives now, that when it’s missing, it’s so frustrating that we feel the need to let loose the dogs of war! Sneering and jeering is now so much a part of our lives that the kind thought never seems to have room to enter. I’m thinking this morning of the political “analysis” of Melania Trump’s speech. Make no mistake – I see no good coming of Trump and his continuing on to the ballot in November – but I also feel that they must have the worst staff in the world. How did someone not catch that awful mistake in her speech? And how did someone not “fix” her biography to take out the lie about graduating from university. This is a small white lie that so many people make on their resumes, these days. Forgivable. But it doesn’t take a genius to know that all these little lies will be pounced upon by the media once you throw your hat into the ring. This poor girl – I actually feel very sorry for her. She was just supposed to be a Trophy Wife and loving mother, and seemed to be doing those jobs very well. Suddenly “You’re gonna be the first lady, and you’re gonna be HUGE”, must have frightened her to death. And clearly, she’s not getting the help she should have been able to count on from the campaign staff…

After days of freezing weather I am wearing a t-shirt and the heater is off!. A blast of hot wet air has appeared and it feels like spring.
Definitely not hiding anything that big Julie! Just shopping for bedding.
I have been thinking about the ongoing craziness and it seems to be that self control is absent in the world. In the old days, if you had a bad experience you would tell a friend or write letter of complaint, which you would invariably tear up without sending having vented onto the paper. Now you spew vitriol onto a social media platform and its out there immediately receiving validation or condemnation straight away. The validation builds up your righteous anger and the condemnation makes you more determined to be right and spill even more venom onto the internet. Its a world of immediate anger, saying what you think and acting without further time for reflection upon your response. Get cut off on the road, pull out a weapon and beat the offending vehicle and driver….or pull out a gun. Don’t like how you were treated at work, school, the local shop? Take out a weapon and show them how you feel. Anger and immediacy and violence of expression of that anger seems to be becoming the norm.
You experienced the escalation of feelings on Facebook Julie. Somehow social media is enabling the violence and anger by allowing us to yell to the world when we feel hurt or aggrieved or we just want to be heard. And then there is reality TV!
There is something to be said for old fashioned civility, holding onto one’s thoughts and anger for a calmer moment, practising self control and the regulation of feelings….thinking before acting. The fomentation of discontent is rife. I fear it is not yet at its maximum point of expression.

I Googled doona to see, before I read Anna’s explanation – and a page of baby car seats came up. Though – hmmmmm – something you’re not telling us, Anna? Hee hee. Then I looked further and saw that it was more probably a duvet.

Anna – this world has certainly gotten crazier through the last few weeks, and I can understand Erin’s worry. The truth is that between two very scary situations right now getting lots of media attention, a person could be easily convinced that America is not safe. I hope she gets to feeling a little better about us before she sees us. The reality is that the chances of being caught in something like these attacks are very, very small, and most likely, wherever you go in America, you will feel safe. However, DC has all the important people in it – there will be a lot less to worry about there, as they will need to be protecting the government people.

Apparently the word was coined by Kimpton Feather Mills in the 1970s. They were an Australian company that specialised in feather bedding.

I wholeheartedly agree with online shopping. Some things you need to feel and clothes you need to try on unless you are very certain of the design and size, but I buy most stuff online. I certainly do my research online even if I am planning on visiting a physical store. That way I can walk in and walk out with what I want easily. I am sticking our apartment in the US by shopping online. Got sheets and things. Hunting for good doonas now in preparation for winter. Go for it Barbara.
Woke to the news from Baton Rouge. I am shaking my head wondering when it will stop. Erin said this morning, “But DC will be alright won’t it?” Problem is, I want it all to be alright. I want all my friends from the Bistro to be happy and safe, and all their friends. I want to show my daughter as many places as possible and I don’t want her to be frightened to travel. Hoping for something good to emerge from the craziness.

I would never have thought of not feeding the small animals while the young Hawks are fledging. I hope they will be gone soon – you don’t want to be giving them a smorgasbord… I used to worry about drawing birds to our yard when we had a cat, but it turned out she was afraid of them IRL (in real life). When they were safely behind a window in my apartment, many years ago, she loved to watch them and tell them that she’d get them if she were our there, but once we moved here and she could go out in the yard, if a bird happened to come too close, she’d run away, hahaha. And in another lifetime, I had a cat who couldn’t put her head out the back door because she would be dive-bombed by the starlings. I think she must have wandered too close to their nest (not necessarily innocently, either), and after that, for years, they remembered her and hounded her. She was okay out the front door, luckily.

I hope you have fun shopping, Barbara!

Julie, Thanks, thanks, thanks. Why didn’t I think of something so simple. I can’t wait to check things out. You really listened to me.
We had bad storms last night. We (at Carol’s) lost electricity three times. Thankfully, the yardservice people had cleaned the gutters on Friday. The pines fill them with pine straw.
We hate not being able to feed the squirrels, rabbits and birds here at her house. I called the wildlife people and was told to stop the feeding of bread and corn until the Hawks’ young had fledeged. We can’t bear to see the squirrels looking for treats. He said there is plenty of food for them at this time of the year. The Hawks will leave as soon as the young fledge.
We are supposed to have stroms again today.
As they said, “Keep Calm and carry on.”

Barbara – I know just what you mean about the lethargy of not wanting to go through the whole rigamarole of choosing a new __________ (insert laptop, fixtures, whatever). I’m with you. I still do my own shopping, but I do it pretty much exclusively online. I don’t think you can go wrong with a laptop – whatever Sam chooses for you is bound to be good. For fixtures, I WOULD probably want to have input there – but I’d definitely go to Home Depot’s website and browse. Then, even if Sam needed to go to the store to buy them, he’d know which one, and be able to find someone to help him find something similar if that particular one wasn’t in stock (though you can also order the piece online, and they will ship it to your store, at no cost, and Sam could pick it up there. Those little design decisions have always given me a lot of pleasure.

Yes, Anna – it seems we are subjected to some atrocity or another so often. Through it all we must remember that most people ARE loving, peaceful people who don’t want this violence. We must stand together, united in our hearts.

Hi, Joan. Wow. Manoir Hovey. Was it really great? I checked the website when we were discussing it earlier. Must be much fun. We could really all use such a respite, I think.
Not much to say about France and Turkey. I hope the US Military at the airbase they allowed us to build are safe. The news this AM seems to suggest we may not be able to stay there. The planes fly from there to attack ISIS. Didn’t know about the base.
Also saw that the citizens of Nice were out using the street where the tragedy took place. The reporter said it was business as usual. I wouldn’t be able to go there for a long while.
Anna, I had just assumed that Erin would come to the US. She is right to see what her choices will be. I wish I had had choices about my college career. Two years here at Augusta College and then two at UGA. No questions asked. I am always happy when people are allowed choices. The choice of colleges is so crucial to the future.
My laptop finally gave up yesterday and I’m writing this at my favorite branch library. I just do not want to go through selecting another. I will probably send Sam to buy one like last time. I realize that the more decisions I allow him to make unilaterally, the more dominating he will become. We are having the same problem with fixtures for the bathrooms. I guess I will have to go and walk through that huge store. Of course, That department is across the back of the store. Don’t I sound like a spoiled brat. The world in the mess it is in with so many people suffering and I fuss about going to stores to buy nonessential items. The baths function fine but are just outdated.
I’ll use Carol’s computer until we sort out buying another.
Peace and serenity to all, dear friends.

So many unknowns Julie. Erin hasn’t made a final decision on staying here for college or doing with us. I think it is a big ask for her to decide until after she gets her final results, knows what Uni she has made it into and sampled life in the US which she will do at the end of the year. Moving towards selling. Running the plan past Peter to get his thoughts and then maybe test the market to see what someone might pay. because we aren’t desperate to see we can be choosy.

With all the chaos in the world right now including Dallas, France and Turkey, I would love to be at Manoir Hovey. I don’t know what to say about the ongoing violence except, most people don’t want it. Most people want a happy settled life without the threat of terrorism, domestic or international. Most people are normal caring human beings regardless of where they were born, who they worship or the colour of their skin. I stand with most people.

Joan, I heartily join in the crowd urging you to tell us more about your Manoir Hovey experience! It is something we have talked of with fondness – the idea of someday having the Bistro crowd meet up in person in front of the fireplace at the hotel! Wouldn’t it loverly? I, for one, would love to know how the real hotel differs from the one in the novel, and how it is the same… seems like Three Pines and its environs are places we have come to think of as very real, and we live there sometimes…. while we’re at the Bistro, for sure.

I know it will be hard to leave and not have a home to come home to, but I also know for me, that would be the “easiest”, and these days there’s a lot to be said for minimizing the hassle of things. It would be one thing if Erin would be living there, maybe, while she goes to college – or is she coming to the states with you for that? That would be very exciting for her. But I can imagine then you almost feel like you’re running away from home. Home is where the heart is, though, and I know that your heart is with your Mum and Dad. But I think you will be brilliant at replicating the feel somewhere else…

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