LOUISE PENNY’S

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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’m fine Anna. My brother is here for a week from Colorado and helping with my mom, so I’m having some nice breathing time and my mom is thrilled. How are you and your family doing? I’ve been thinking about you especially since your post on the 12th and hoping things are better. I was touched by Louise’s not too long ago post sharing the ups and downs of her days with Michael and Alzeimer’s. She is such a wonderful model for making the most of the joy in, and always approaching, our lives and yet acknowledging the times of despair.

Barbara, I hope the Bear with a sore knee is able to do what he needs to do and that the end result is as fine as he hopes. I’ve been imagining Rosa quacking, quacking, quacking along behind you as you go about your caregiver duties. Ruth will make her way out of Cleckley as soon as she can.

I have loved all the advice and stories about downsizing and getting rid of the excess. We are not moving at this time, but I’m pretending that we are for extra encouragement. Some days it’s one small item dispensed with, some days it’s 20, but it is already giving us pleasure. Louise and Michael’s move has energized a lot of people, I think.

It looks like a Three Pines cookbook has been started! I love the name: The Night is a Strawberry! A lot of work seems to have gone into it already. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Wearing out my front door, looking to see if my map has been delivered!

Thanks for the update Barbara. Sorry the night was uncomfortable. Make sure Sam is wiggling his toes and contracting his calf muscles so he doesn’t get clots!

TNOTB is less than a week away now. Very exciting!

Hi All, Everything is going well. Not much sleep last night…Sam couldn’t get comfortable with the massive dressing and wrapping around his knee and down covering his foot. Too much I thought. He has taken most of it off now(with Dr.’s OK ) and can even walk a little without the crutches.
Have good weekend.

Good to hear things are going well Barbara. I love Cathryne’s description of Gabri and Ruth waiting with you.
Cathryne, are you ok?
Thinking of everyone. Sun shining here today. Warm for winter. Trying to relax and enjoy.

Julie, Anna, Cathryne thanks for your thoughts. Everything went according to plan and so far so good. He took pain pills about an hour ago.
I like the idea of sitting with Gabri and Ruth. I like the idea of holding Rosa. Ruth would have been whisked off to the Cleckley Building (Named for the local Dr. in The Three Faces of Eve) I fear.
Think I’ll visit the Bistro again later.

Barbara, I have been thinking about you through the day and hoping things are going well. The not so unusual time changes add to the stress.
I’ve been trying to imagine who would be good distractions or drive you to distraction as you wait. I decided on Gabri sitting on one side, commenting on the dull but comfortable-looking scrubs and Ruth on the other side, Rosa on your lap. What could go wrong?
Sending good thoughts to you and your understandably grumpy Bear.

Good luck to you and Sam, Barbara! I think you were saying he expected to be “back to normal” in three weeks, which is amazingly good! I know it’s a different thing, but my hubby has had both his knees done in total knee replacement surgeries. Those take longer, but even so, if you do the exercises both before and after, it truly does seem to be a remarkable recovery! He has no pain now – pain he’d lived with since he was 17. It seems like a miracle to him.

Today is “knee day for Sam. Changed the time of surgery yet again. Nothing to eat or drink since midnight and surgery will not be before 1:15 but we must be there at 12:15. The Bear is growling.
Anna. I laughed at your question about the sofa. We have worn it out. The first ever to reach that status. My dogs were so bad about attacking the furniture in the family room especially during thunder storms. Most furniture was recovered once and then trashed and the unharmed pieces went to Salvation Army. Petey (current darling) and Precious who preceded him does/did not chew. Petey did chew two magazine racks when we first got him. I was so glad he did not attack two of Grandmother’s end tables which were promptly moved to the LR with the others. My dogs never bothered books. Good thing with book cases in every room except bedroom and bath. A sister-in-law once remarked she guessed I would put a bookcase in the bathrooms next. I almost did just for spite but the humidity would have damaged them.
Off to Hospital now. Good thoughts and Peace and Calm to all.

I know! I’m very excited that it really looks like I’m getting a map! I actually filled this in when I placed my pre-order, so hopefully, that means I’m definitely on the list… Maybe I should do it again, “just in cases”.

Julie

Bistro friends, check out LP’s Facebook post of about 4 hours ago. A glimpse of the Three Pines map and a sign up page for those who preordered that includes one’s address.
Hurry Julie! lol
I thought a few people would win one in a drawing. Completely confused but delighted. Keeping my fingers crossed for the members of the Bistro. Good luck to all.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.
http://www.crimewriterscanada.com/awards/arthur-ellis-awards/about

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.

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
http://view.mail.macmillan.com/?j=fe601774746103787314&m=feee1c737d6c02&ls=fdc41574736604747610757367&l=fe5615787266047a7c13&s=fded1577766c0779741c7973&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe3710747566077d741175&et_cid=34157560&et_rid=1738341896&linkid=View+as+a+Web+Page&r=0

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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