The Bistro

The Bistro

The Bistro Banner
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 Jeb. I love that scene too, I think a lot of people do. Such a significant moment as a demonstration of trust and love. It’s quite breathtaking. Thanks for telling us about your Mum. She sounds like an amazing person. Battling mental illness is a challenge. Watching someone battle is equally difficult.

It’s good when stories touch us in a personal way. I think Louise has the ability to be unafraid in allowing genuine emotion into her stories but her greater gift is in tapping into the best in people. Whatever their quirks or flaws we are able to see the potential for goodness and growth in the characters. I think Louise is Gamache is so many ways. She has to be to be able to look into the dark rooms of humanity and still see the gems.

I finished How the Light Gets In last night – tears streaming down my face… the suspense in that one is amazing to me. Lots of little insights into Ruth – that she had somehow seen herself as the “missing Quint”, felt an affinity for Constance – seems to say to me that her childhood certainly left a lot to be desired. There’s mention that she moved to Three Pines with her parents when she was small, and I seem to remember from Still Life, that her first day at school, Jane Neal had befriended her. Very, very much made of the poem – “Who hurt you once/ so far beyond repair/ that you would greet each overture/ with curling lip?” The pain Ruth feels – yet the help she gives Beauvoir is heartbreakingly beautiful. When he asks her, barely above a whisper – “Am I? Beyond repair?”…

Jean Guy’s spiral downward is so awful – so well-written, so true-sounding, it can’t help but affect you. And his final redemption, that we’re not sure he can manage or not, is wonderful! The final scene – the wedding – is very healing to me, and wraps up the “Arnot case” so nicely. I’m not sure this isn’t my favorite book, though Bury Your Dead and The Brutal Telling are both right up there, too. The Beautiful Mystery is lovely, yet, somehow on a different plane – perhaps because it’s so contained to the monastery – behind locked doors. I loved that book, yet, I don’t think you can find another that runs your emotions through the wringer like HTLGI.

I know none of this is new – but sometimes, I just have to talk about what I’ve read, and to people who understand…

I know exactly what you mean Julie. Every time you read the books it os emotional and needs release. Love how there are levels and nuances that are picked up on each reread. I do love HTLGI. So much happens. So much emotion. Share away!!

The scene with Ruth entrusting Rosa into Jean Guy’s care is my favorite scene in all the books. Ruth reminds me of my Mom who was also a poet. My Mom suffered from mental illness, but was sharper than any person I ever met. It was good to find a characters somewhat in fiction and for her coup de grace to be such a significant part of the story.

Julie, being able to share feelings about ideas, events (personal and public) as well as emotions, when we read, is very important. The Bistro is very special to us because here we do just that….we share, understand and care. Thank you to all who make the Bistro possible and to all who join in the discussions.
Jean Guy’s fall was so painful. The excellent writing made us care very much.

We had solar hot water and solar generation panels installed on our last house then moved a couple of months later. It was good while it lasted.

Hope you are all well wherever you are.

Cathryne you make me laugh! The dress is simple and comfortable and wearable to all kinds of events but I had no room for a USB or other message coding device.

Julie, I know what you mean about “the End Times”. Extreme weather events have been the state of play across the world for the last few years. We have a tub that goes near the front door when the weather warms up. In it go the files with our passports and birth certificates etc, a photo album and anything not used daily that is irreplaceable. No guarantee there would be time to take it but it’s there to grab after the humans, the animals and the favourite teddy bears. Might have to put ski boots there too as they are hard to get right and highly prized in this house!
Mind you we have had early fires in recent years with dry winters and unseasonal blasts of hot dry air. Not so much this winter which is dry as per the El Niño predictions but cooler than expected so far. I don’t mind that except when standing on the flight deck of a Navy ship with a cold breeze picking up!

Well, of course, then you just have to not stand on the flight deck of a Navy ship… duh! Hahaha – yes, I think we have well and truly messed up the planet – I just hope it’s not too late to claw it back somehow. Have been watching the progress of the solar powered airplane as it flies around the world. That long trip from Japan to Hawaii seems most dangerous to be in an airplane that goes about 47 miles per hour! And to have no contingency fuel of any kind. But I guess, what with him streaming live, people would know he was in trouble pretty quickly – but could they get to him in a hurry? Brave souls just to test out how powerful solar power is. Why we’re not using more of it is beyond me. And why it seems easier to some people to frack to get the little deposits of oil, than to put up solar panels is also beyond me…

Anna, so glad to hear your night was enjoyable. At first I imagined you in a summery dress, then remembered that you are in the midst of winter. It was certainly time for an evening out in a new dress; I hope you found a dress you loved wearing. I also hope you didn’t have to slip a secret message to the U. S. Ambassador, a la Audrey Villeneuve in HTLGI, such a distraction.

Thanks for your kind thoughts Barbara and Julie. We had a nice night but it did get a bit cool. Met the U.S. Ambassador. Nice fellow.
I am keen to get to Georgia and see the history. And Julie, stay safe. Been watching the fires and they have been awful. Spoke to a fellow from Washington State last night and talked to him about it. Whole West Coast is so dry. Just at airport as husband flying to San Diego. Not so bad down there I think.

I hope San Diego is a bit better – it’s a very moderate climate, usually – probably the most perfect climate in the US, as it seems to vary something like 10 degrees between 65 and 75 as average temps through the year. I loved San Diego when I visited there, because of that. The extreme heat and almost any cold is hard for me. The heat is worse, I think, as you get to a point where you can’t take any more clothes off, hahaha.

Happy Independence Day for tomorrow to all those in the US. Off to Fourth of July party tonight. New dress for the occasion and first time I have been “out” in a long time

Hope you had a great time, Anna. You deserve it.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY ! Our morning paper was filled with articles about the Revolution and especially Georgia’s participation. We have many monuments honoring the patriots and the graves of revolutionary leaders are found in our oldest cemetery.
Peace and comforting thoughts to the Bistro.

Hope you had fun, Anna! I expect your fourth is over and ours is just starting, at least for those of us who try to get up around noon, haha. We are in one of the few places in the US suffering from severe drought conditions, so people have been asked not to set off fireworks. Of course, the city will still have a big fireworks display, but they are always done from a raft in the middle of a lake, so not much danger of fire there… I hope people pay attention – we have one out of control fire in the state now, and it’s destroyed a great many homes… it doesn’t take much right now. Meanwhile, about a third of the country seems to be under water, as torrential rains don’t show signs of letting up. I begin to think this is going to be the “end times”.

Barbara – I think you are the one who recommended Into the Woods to us…. I put it on my Netflix list and last night, we watched it. You were right – it was delightful! I feel like such musicals are all becoming a lot more like opera – taking their cue from Les Miz, no doubt. Such a wonderful cast and beautiful movie! Thank you!

Julie, I’m the one who kept talking about how much I love Into The Woods. I think they did a great adaptation of the play to film. So glad you enjoyed it.

Hi, Millie. I thought you were the source for Into the Woods info. I was going to check back but had no time yesterday. The day went well for us.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, GA recently approved the sale of fireworks and use by individuals. I very much enjoy Pubic Fireworks Demonstrations, however. I feel it is a much safer option. People have always shot off fireworks here but they had to be purchased across the river in SC and the police would respond if it got out of hand or continued too far into the AM hours. The ones I heard last night sounded like news reports from areas under bombing attacks. I was worried the sound would prompt an incident in the Vets with ptsd. The late local newscast reported Vets asking to be informed when people in their neighborhoods were
planning to shoot fireworks. Some had placed signs on their lawns requesting to be informed. One woman said that if she knows the noise is coming she can brace for it. I wasn’t aware knowing would help. Hope that works for all but I think not.
I wish we could share the rains we have been having with those who need it so much worse. We are thankful for what we have been receiving and are about to have.

Happy Canada Day! Happy day for the audio listeners too. A narrator has been chosen for NOTB. Relief, since I’m a fan of audio too.

I thought about my previous post and realized so many were a part of the entire re-read, it would probably be redundant for me to point out things in HTLGI regarding Ruth…

Barbara, the book I found is a biography, not fiction. And I too am excited the wait for the next book is narrowing.

Julie, love your description of the dress, cape and upcoming ball. What fun. Do keep us posted.

Nancy, I too find it easier to read than to ‘see’ on film…

Wishing the U.S. members of The Bistro a Happy Fourth of July, and a great weekend to all.

Happy Canada Day to my Bistro friends! I don’t throw parties these days, but in my heart, I still celebrate Canada Day! It’s funny – it still seems “new” to call it Canada Day instead of “Dominion Day”, even though that happened when I was a teenager. (I guess I’m still 17 at heart, hahaha) My first husband was a transplanted American, so we celebrated the 4th, instead of the 1st – and always with a big party – it was our one big party per year. Now that I’m living in the US, my husband and I don’t do anything to mark either. We do enjoy the fireworks, as we can see them from our upstairs windows, but other than that, it’s usually another quiet day around our household.

I was pleased to see who will be doing the audio books – he’s an actor I’ve seen a few times, and have enjoyed. I think he’ll bring the right “gravitas” to the reading, and do Louise proud! That said, I’ve never heard any of the other books in audio form, and am thinking I ought to get one, just so I have had that experience…

The map of Three Pines is very exciting to me – I’ve entered the drawing, and seeing that basically, they’re giving the maps to the first 5000 people (from North American, I think) who pre-order, I’m hoping that means I have a chance. I’m very much afraid that after the giveaway there won’t be maps for sale, so if I don’t win one, I won’t get one…. I do hope we at least get to see the whole map.

I was reading Louise’s newsletter last night, in which she enclosed a second picture from her wedding to Michael. They look so happy, and as always, Louise looks so elegant. I have such a hard time thinking that the way she writes Clara, with the wild hair with crumbs in it, is how she sees herself, as photos always show the most elegant of women. I love to get the news from her – she had mentioned that in one of the forewords from the British publishers, there was a very candid interview included for the re-release of Still Life for the 10th anniversary, and that she had been shocked when she saw in print how intimate it seemed. Then she seemed to accept it and say – “Well, in for a penny, in for a pound!” – and embraced that we know so much about her life and situation. I think I would not have to courage to be so open about the difficulties of life, but I have to say that I love her for it. It makes me feel as though I really know her, and something in the sign-off of the newsletter made me think that she gets something from the relationship – a place where there are people who are sympathetic and who don’t mind hearing all about it. A bistro!

I keep forgetting that Louise writes a newsletter the first of every month, so thanks for mentioning it, Julie.

I’d better step up my re-read if we’ve got only 2 months left, hahaha. Actually, I think I’ll skip to HTLGI and that will be it… I’m such a slow reader. I can’t wait to immerse myself again into the life at Three Pines…

Yesterday, my DR. mentioned his move is to Louisville. I had to ask if his wife (they married last month) was a Jane Austen fan and told him about the Society and fall meeting. He was delighted as she is a fan and would like dressing in period clothing. Julie, I’m glad you told us about your gown and the meeting and I could share with him.
Last night we watched a PBS show from Wed. night, I think. First Americans and First Africans.
Kennewick Man found near the Columbia River in Washington was discussed. Native Americans’ request for the skeleton was strengthened when DNA tests identified him with them. The story of a woman trying to find where in Africa her ancestors came from was amazing. DNA results can be used in so many ways.

Oh, that’s fun! I hope she joins up – I think their region is very active, so even if she can’t go to the General Meeting in the fall, they will have monthly or semi-monthly meetings, where all would be welcome. The General Meeting apparently, fills up very fast once registration is open, which it has been for about a month – so it’s possible that she’d try to get in but not be able to. But there’s another every year – the following year, it’s in Washington, DC, which I am very much looking forward to.

That book sounds interesting Nancy. I shall look out for it.

So funny to hear of the Governors Mansion in Hyde Park. The NSW Governors mansion in Sydney is not far from Hyde Park!

Don’t be sorry Barbara! I Lways just assumed it was the Nazis who did all the rounding up. I felt a bit weird to see the French treat their own citizens that way. But then it was a difficult time in France when it was occupied with the Vichy government. I do find history interesting don’t you.

We have been lucky not to have been occupied as a nation, although the Indigenous population have been. During the war there was a controversial idea called “the Brisbane Line” where the Defence of Australia would be withdrawn to to below a line through the middle of the country from Brisbane across if the country was invaded by the Japanese. I think there was denial that it would happen but General MacArthur mentioned it in a speech. That would have abandoned a lot of people to their fate. Mmmmm. There is a book in that. Actually there was a children’s series based on the invasion of Australia by an unidentified enemy by John Marsden.

Just looked it up. (Isn’t the internet amazing?) It’s the Governors House in Hyde Park. Take a look.

Oh, isn’t that fun? I didn’t know Vermont had a Hyde Park – I have been to the New York one, as I have a friend whose husband is a professor at Vassar, and have visited there a couple of times… a very beautiful area!

I’d love to do a weekend there. I’m very used to people from all the different books mingling together, hahaha. Sometimes, the minor characters trip me up, but for the most part, they’re pretty easy to keep straight. Where I have a hard time is trying to recall if my memory of something is actually from a book, or just a movie… And of course, sometimes, they leave characters completely out of movies, or add bits of dialog that never was.

Oops, I was called away and when I came back I forgot that I was going to tell you about an inn that we saw last year when attending a play across the street. It was in a small Vermont town (I’ll have to look it up and get back to you if anyone is interested). Our friend’s daughter was in the play and when we came out I noticed a gorgeous house with beautiful grounds across the street. Then I noticed a sign saying it was an inn so when we got home I looked it up and learned that in the summer they have a Jane Austen weekend where people can come and dress up as their favorite character. There are JA themed activities also (want to learn to drive a horse??). The strange thing (to me anyway) was that the characters could be from any of her books so you might have the Bennet sisters along with the Musgroves. I have enough trouble keeping them separate in the books without putting people from all the books together! Guess it would be fun to see.

Hi all! Have been hovering over the discussion and wonder if anyone has read The Man Who Saved London? I forget the author’s name but don’t think it ‘s hard to find…and it’s well worth reading to learn of someone who made such a huge contribution to ending the war. It’s an amazing read and something that will inspire you. I read it many years ago and could not forget it. My cousin met the man’s sister when they were both volunteering in a Wisconsin children’s hospital. I need to get another copy as I must have loaned mine out…and don’t remember who has it. I mention this because I find it so difficult to watch movies etc about that time.

Re the discussion of Jane Austen. We went to a play last year

I think the point the film was making Barbara, is that it was the French not the Germans who rounded up the Jews in France. They showed Mitterand making an apology for what happened in the past.

Julie, scarlet fever still happens here particularly among the Indigenous population, but in all lations. I was actually worried Erin may have had it after a bad strep throat and the skin peeled from her fingers and toes, a late sign of the infection. She had to have a cardiac echo anyway last year whivh was normal. One of my friends lived in Zimbabwe when she was young and had multiple bouts of scarlet fever. Nasty consequences. Sorry you had a rough trot with it and the rheumatic heart disease. Lots of people tick with mechanical valves so don’t worry.

Keep us informed on the dress. I wouldn’t be one to have a revealing neckline either. That wouldn’t spell comfort for me.

Thank you all for such nice words about my feelings on my scar. I’m actually so used to it that it doesn’t really bother me, but I’m aware that it bothers some others… My skin is very pale, so the scar looks newer than it might. I had the surgery quite young – 35 and again when I was 40 – as I am the last person in North America to have Scarlet Fever, I think. At any rate, a heart valve was damaged, and at 35, they repaired it. Not til after the surgery did they say to me that there was a 30% chance that the damage would continue to deteriorate the valve, and if that was the case, they’d replace it the next time. I wish they’d told me in the first place, as I’d have opted for replacement, which was finally necessary when I was 40. Since they needed it to last so long, my valve is made of carbon, which causes me to “tick” audibly at times. Always something to talk about with me, hahahaha.

I will probably still opt for a somewhat modest neckline, never mind what they really wore – I can’t really imagine that I will want things out “on display” like that, haha.

Barbara – isn’t the dancing fun looking? I would really love to be good at it, but I doubt I will, as I definitely have two left feet. Still, I’ll give it a go in the fall. I understand people are very understanding about taking your hand and helping you along…

It was SOP for the Jews to be rounded up and sent to concentration camps whenever Germany invaded a county.
Anna, you have evidently done an excellent job of rearing Erin. It is very disturbing to watch a movie like Sarah’s Key. I wasn’t aware of the movie or book until reading your post but read a synopsis at once. I admire Erin. Unfortunately, many her age, older teens and adults would have turned away from such a serious movie to do something that would be fun. The movies, documentaries and books based on the Holocaust are difficult but necessary so people will never forget.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to content