Gamache Series Open Discussion

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.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Dalene says:

    Has anyone noticed the repetition of the name Cree?

  2. Anna says:

    Only the Cree and Crie. Are there other examples?

  3. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Dalene, I can’t think of another example of the use of the name, either, but I will keep looking and thinking.

    And now, a MAJOR TREAT, a PRESENT to reward great patience. Go to Amazon and, for those who would like to, you can read many of the “first pages” of TNOTB! I stumbled upon it and I’m about halfway through the offered pages. Going back now!

    • Peg H. in Wisconsin says:

      I’m on the Amazon TNOTB page and don’t see anything to read. Maybe it was a short-term deal?

      Shifting gears to the coloring-book thread, I was reading one of my favorite cartoons, Betty (set in Canada), and it looks like they have a new subject starting:

      Betty is the woman sitting in the break room and talking to a co-worker.

      • Jan says:

        On the Amazon LP book site, click on the image of TNOTB book cover until you get to Look Inside. Click on that.

        HOLY MOLY!!!!

      • Julie says:

        I’ve been reading Betty for years, Peg, and never noticed it was set in Canada. I did notice the coloring book – very cutting edge – or should that be “coloring” edge…

  4. Sue Miller says:

    I’ve wondered so long about licorice pipes. I’m assuming they are candy novelties but could someone please give me a better description. I’m American in southern Illinois, far removed from Three Pines area, & we have no licorice pipes down here.

  5. Millie says:

    Here’s a link to an excerpt of Chapter 1 from Louise’s site for those having difficulty navigating Amazon.

    Sorry I have not been as active here as I had hoped, especially with regards to the Ruth Filter. I loved reading the other views and speculations. Just lots of sad news about aging relatives. Trying to comfort those I can and dealing with my own emotions about it all makes it hard for me to delve into Ruth’s pain right now.

    I would like to add here a few sentences from one of Louise’s recent Facebook posts. Reading it with a ‘Millie Filter’ was most helpful because I struggle trying to multi-task and it just doesn’t work for me. (See Kim, you aren’t alone reading with your own filter!)

    “As much as I’d like to think I’m a free spirit, I am not. I like order. Order is calm. Calm is peace. Peace is happiness. Oddly, the more order I have, the easier it is to handle unexpected events because I’m not already overwhelmed.”

    Calm, peace and happiness to all my Bistro friends.

    • Julie says:

      Millie – so sorry life is pulling you thither and yon. It’s difficult, and, indeed, does change your filter, so makes it hard to look with a Ruth filter, indeed. I love the “calm and order” post, too. It makes perfect sense to me. About a year ago, I was really feeling the need for order – I felt like I was living in perfect chaos, I had so much clutter in my house. Our house has been in a constant state of renovation since I moved into it 25 years ago – my husband, who is very handy, does it all himself, and for quite awhile, made good, though slow progress, fitting it around working. Then, when he retired, we got quite a bit done – probably about 75% – and then health changes have required him to slow down. He KNOWS, intellectually, that he can’t do these things anymore, but he can’t bring himself to hire someone to do it. He grew up in the depression, and it is just hardwired into him that there are things you don’t hire other people to do for you. But it was all driving me crazy, as each room had tools, pieces of lumber, etc. piled in corners, as though each was a job-site that someone had stepped away from for a few minutes. Every room had a pile of stuff in it. I found it so discouraging to even bother to clean. So I finally decided what I could do about it. I went through the whole house and pulled together all tools, and put them together in one place in the basement. Then I gathered together all building materials and put them together in a closet. Then, I went through all of the things that I’d been putting off – setting up a room as a walk-in closet (I’d bought all the shelving/hanging poles). I went through all my clothes and sent a lot of things to Goodwill. I de-cluttered every room and got the whole house “tidy” – though not necessarily clean. Tidy I find easy – clean, not so much, hahaha. Then I called a cleaning service and had them come in to give me an estimate. After a first big, deep, clean, I’m now on a schedule where they come in and clean every two weeks, and my house is never messy or dirty anymore. Yes, we have walls that have half the wallpaper scraped off them (in that closet room), but I’ve decided not to see that. I feel so much more serene. I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. I’m not embarrassed to have people come over, even if they “drop in”. The discipline that having the cleaners come means that I have to keep it tidy, or they can’t vacuum around the clutter very well. So it’s always tidy, and it’s always clean. I wish I’d done it years before. The funny thing is, even though my husband doesn’t mind that I have someone come in to do what I ought to be doing, he still can’t do that for “his” jobs, so our yard is awful, and all those projects remain half-done. But I have found my peaceful, calm place, so it’s all good, hahaha.

  6. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Jan, very good instructions, thanks!
    40 to 50 pages from the first several chapters of TNOTB are available to read on “Look Inside,” then “First Pages,” on Amazon, everyone. Jan’s directions are much better than mine from last night.
    And “HOLY MOLY” says it all!

    Millie, glad to see your post, but sorry about all the emotional pulls and needs right now. It helps to just have the Bistro to go to mentally, I think, even when we can’t post. I hope you are imagining yourself there sometimes, so comfortable, so peaceful, so safe, so completely yourself.
    I’m glad you included Louise’s musings about order and calm because I loved that too, as well as her other recent postings on the subject. I’ve been really trying to act accordingly and have been taking advantage of my husband’s willingness to remove what we don’t need to the proper places (charities, waste management sites, family members, neighbors, trash). Also, jobs–cats to the vet!

    • Julie says:

      When I went to take a look at the Amazon site, I noticed that there were missing pages (at least looking only at page numbers), so I decided not to read it. The Big Chill is one of my favorite movies, okay, not something to take to a desert island, but up there in what I would watch again. :D In it, there is a scene in which one guy comes into a room where another is watching an old movie. On the TV screen, there are about ten men wearing suits and fedora hats, the way they used to do in all those old movies (and probably in real life, hahaha). The guy who’s just come into the room says, “Who’s he?”, “What’s going on?” and “What just happened?” The other guy says, “I think the man in the hat did something bad.”, but this is not enough for the first guy, who continues to ask questions, frustrating the fellow watching TV. He finally says, “Sometimes, you just have to let art wash over you.” This has become my mantra when I don’t know what’s happening in a movie or TV show, and also when I DO know what’s going on, but my poor hubby is struggling to keep up and asks a lot of questions that I can tell will be answered in due time. I say to him: “Sometimes, you just have to let art wash over you.” This is what I’m doing here – I don’t want to know things before I’m supposed to know them, so will wait (even though it’s impatiently) for the whole book. Maybe this is just another example of not looking too closely, so you can’t see how the magic works…

  7. Peg H. in Wisconsin says:

    My “Look Inside” feature wasn’t working. It was a Java problem I’ve had before. Reloaded Java and it’s okay now. I’m up to page 75. Pretty intense!

  8. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Peg, I’m glad you tried again! It feels like Christmas in August! What a wonderful surprise. I loved the pages made available and found the book so easy to get into. I’m going to reread the pages now. So much happened, so much to think about.

    • Millie says:

      Thanks Cathryne for the nudge to check out the Amazon site. I don’t remember a ‘Look Inside’ being available before a book’s publication date. What a gift indeed. I read it last night. Just the mental distraction I needed.

      And I certainly do imagine myself in a quiet corner of the Bistro quite often. Sometimes out back, by the Bella Bella. “So completely yourself”… Thank you for reminding me of the importance of that.

      Oh, I’m married to an engineer also. I really could relate to your description of their way of seeing the world, their way of being.

  9. Anna says:

    Loved hearing about your decluttering Julie! Well done. I am sure you feel lighter for it.

    Calm and hugs to you Millie. Strong emotions flowing around here too. Always good to catch my breath at the Bistro. It’s also freezing ao I am imaging a warm place by the fire with coffee and croissants.

    Good thoughts to all.

  10. Dawna says:

    I am waiting with great anticipation for the new book…am planning to revisit in September as a pleasant fall trip. Quebec has always been a favorite destination and one reason for my love of the Gamache series…it is splendid to re-explore a part of my past through the adventures of its characters…Salut!

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Dawna, Have a great time as I know you will. If I get to take one more trip, it will be to Quebec, I hope.

  11. Millie says:

    I hope it’s OK I’m posting a link to a letter from Louise to the readers just in case some got caught in a spam filter. It was sent by email from Minotaur Books but the link is to view from a web browser. It is such a great insight into her creative process and worth reading. I hope it works

  12. Julie says:

    Millie, I think that letter really got me wondering what this new book is about! It’s all I can do now to wait, and yet, I know that the book will appear on my Kindle while I’m out of town, at midnight one night, and I’ll probably be up half the night reading it, hahahaha. I am getting very excited! I don’t know if many of you have read The Hangman – it’s a novella by Louise done for an adult literacy campaign, so written in rather more simple language than the usual. It is a Gamache mystery and takes place in Three Pines, and a couple of the Three Pines regulars are in it, but it’s not really a part of the series. You miss nothing by not reading it, except a good read! I found it very good – and I’m sure it was an interesting challenge for Louise. In it, there is mention of a book which has won the Arthur Ellis Award for mystery writers. As the story goes along it comes out that Arthur Ellis was a pseudonym for Canada’s first official hangman. I had to start looking things up – this was, indeed, the name used by Canada’s first official hangman, and later was used by at least one other person with the same job. I remember that Canada voted to lose the death penalty before I was old enough to vote, so it would have been, perhaps, the mid to late ’60’s. I think, before that, it had been a long time since anyone had been put to death, and I’m not sure hanging was still the way it was done, considering how inhumane it is. At any rate – there is, indeed, a Crime Writer’s Award (in fact, a series of them) with his name on it, and the award itself is a riot – you have to go look at it, as it’s a tad macabre.

    Of course, this is an award that Louise has won – for Still Life – Best First Novel, and for Best Crime Novel – Bury Your Dead.

    The author who had won the award in the story is Barbara Fradkin – a real Canadian writer with a long list of novels available. Her detective is Detective Green of the Ottawa Police in Canada. I’m just now getting into the first novel and enjoying it very much. (I had to have something to read before TNOTB comes out). I really like how, as you read Louise’s books, so many things she puts out there are real – you need to be close to google while you read, hahaha.

  13. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Julie, your post on decluttering is spot on. My house is a mess. My husband is severely limited as to his ability as a hyandyman. That coupled with his OCD which causes him to take forever with the yard eats up his time. No, we do not have a pretty yard as I assumed we would when we bought the house in 1969. As I have written, the first 5 months of this year were spent preping and then finishing the ” remove old storage shed and erect new one” project. I have done about all I can in the house to declutter but it isn’t noticeable as I can not clear out or move his things. A friend and I were discussing clutter and she was inspired to work some in her house. They have lived in that house a few years longer than we have been in ours.
    I like your ideas. I, too, have lumber stacked in the corner of one room and his tool boxes piled around. I’m resolved that I will move them. I wish we had a basement and a real attic. I have no desire to clean either because of the mess. I had thought of the same solution as you with a cleaning service. He didn’t like it but I need to do it because of my copd and emotional problems. But first, I have to really declutter.
    I’m writing this at my Sister’s because my laptop crashed yesterday. I had ignored signs of a problem for several months. Husband has it at Best Buy.
    Your post has given me inspiration to tackle the “MESS”.

    • Julie says:

      Barbara, it really IS a good thing and if you have COPD, you have a legitimate medical reason why you shouldn’t be doing housework. I know that there are even services cropping up all over these days to help with the moving of big piles of “stuff” here and there, and I know that, should the time come that we have to leave this house, and even hubby thinks so, then I will just call them. He has been in this house for close to 50 years now and the basement is a place I’d happily just set a match to and walk away from, so I’ll be happy to call someone else to just take it all away. Since I don’t have kids, and my husband’s daughter lives very far away, there will be no family to clear things out after we’re gone. When my mother died, she had only lived in her assisted living facility about 8 years, and the whole family had come from all over to help clear things out of the house she’d been in with my father for years and years. Even so, when she died, there was lots of stuff – this time, instead of going through it all, my brother called 1-800-Got-Junk, and got rid of all the little junky things, and we left the apartment furnished so another senior who didn’t have furniture could move right in. So much simpler, and it really started me thinking about simple solutions for us.

      After I’d done the first big de-clutter, I have felt great, but it’s time to do another layer – I think you can’t get rid of EVERYTHING all at once – we just not wired that way. But now, I’m ready to go a little deeper… just need to find the energy, hahaha.

  14. Anna says:

    There was an article in the media a couple of days ago but the current cult of decluttering and how it is a good thing. I think we appreciate what we have so much more when it isn’t buried under a pile of things we don’t need. I need to take myself in hand and get rid of my piles of magazines. Books are another story. I think we have discussed that before.
    By the way Barbara, I just saw Jason Day won the U.S. PGA. An emotional moment for him!

    • I just saw the news when I turned the Laptop on. A record of 20 under par. I feared the vertigo might continue to be a serious problem but luckily that did not prove to be.
      We made a list of items we need to move around in the house. It seems that if we get rid of one sofa, that will allow for a series of other moves that will allow for a major declutter. At least we have a plan.
      Sam’s arthroscopy to repair the meniscus of his left knee will be Thursday. Therapy starts Tues. of next week. If he heals as well as he did 2 1/2 years ago, he will be back to normal in 3 weeks.
      Sam read GSAW. We haven’t discussed it yet. The first fiction he has read in decades. He reads, just not fiction.

      • Anna says:

        It is great you have a plan! That is where it starts. Is there a home for the sofa to go to or is it on its way out?
        I hope Sam’s arthroscopy goes well. Knees are a bother when they don’t work as well as they should. I am working hard building up mine for my holiday in January. Just finished paying it off. It is so important to have something to look forward to.
        I wonder what Sam will think of the book. I seem to recall his parents had the more “rigid” ideas? The idea of thinking for yourself and not going along blindly with what others think and how hard that can be might resonate for him.

        • Anna, “rigid” what a tactful way to say what they are. He doesn’t seem to want to say anuthing except to comment on the “fit” Jean Louise threw. He says she just would not hush and let them explain. I think the story to him is that of a daughter/niece behaving in a disrespectful manner.
          At least he read it.
          Our local news coverage is still focusing on Day. Not just the TV stations but the paper as well. He is mentioned on the editorial praise, section A and the sports section. I had not realized he had overcome so much in addition to the vertigo.
          Skiing must be a very freeing experience. I enjoy seeing it on TV as the skiers soar through the air and down mountain sides. WOW.

  15. Cathryne Spencer says:

    I’m taking a moment for a few pleasant, relaxing deep breaths in the Bistro before going forward with my tricky day. Eyes closed, friends coming and going, so nice.
    Now, before I jump back into reality, I want to say that I enjoyed today’s excerpt; it was not in the Amazon pages. Loving a chance to get to know M. Belliveau better.
    Thanks for the safe, lovely place, Bistro friends!

    • Anna says:

      Sending you hugs and good thoughts Cathryne. I don’t know why your world is tricky today but I can empathise completely. It is good to have the Bistro to spend a couple of minutes and breathe. I will be thinking of you.

    • Cathryne, We are fortunate to have the Bistro. The peace and calm is always so welcome. Enjoy.

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