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”

As your winter is ending, mine is just beginning. There is an icy wind and rain today….just in time for my daughter to go back to school. Lucky the kids here are hardy as they spend their breaks outdoors for the most part whatever the weather. There is a covered area but it is pretty chilly.

For me it is a good day to snaffle a seat in the Bistro by the fire with a fresh cup of tea and contemplate my next book. I have been doing a bit of reading to get into the mood. It doesn’t matter how complex the plot, I am increasingly unable to enjoy a story unless I can connect with the characters. What I have noticed is a lot of characters are of the abrupt, disconnected kind. Part of the story might be those characters learning to connect but not always. While it can be a neat literary device it feels a bit worn to me. I can cope if it is offset by other more likable characters or other dimensions to the character.

Stepping into one of Louise’s novels is always so comforting. Even irascible Ruth is so multidimensional and has a warmth that keeps leaking out even when she tries to cover it up. Have to love a woman who takes a duck for a walk!

Hello Anna et al, I’m not sure the road trip was successful yet. I can access the Internet but no email, messages or even Facebook on any device. When did I get so dependent on these things? Thank heaven the Bistro doors are always open!

Anna, I think there will be many layers throughout.
Julie, so many good things, but be patient, yes I know it isn’t a race. 😉
I know I brought this up before but I still wonder if the missing ‘boy’ might not be Bean. Louise does place clues far in advance. Bean loved reading his book on mythological creatures. And his/her was thinking of changing his/her name. The Morrows can be considered to have ‘Beastly’ behavior… And what child isn’t drawn to exploring. Plus Ruth takes a liking to those most hurting, the Quint, Jean Guy… the duck! Interestingly we’ve been talking a lot about sence of place, sense of identity: what kind of sense of identity would Bean have? Wouldn’t that child eventually have an identity crises? Bean seems to like the Gamache’s and Clara, but children have an uncanny sense of gravitating to kind souls. I think Ruth has a very kind soul under her fasçade of curt dismissal. She and Bean would hit it off well, I think. But Louise does surprise!

My day is ending, others will soon start theirs. Have a great one.
BTW: Diane, what general time zone are you in?

Millie, I do hope the computer recovers with appropriate attention.

I was thinking about The Nature of the Beast. It doesn’t necessarily imply evil. We use the phrase to say it’s to be expected as it’s the nature of the beast, meaning acting to type.

I suspect there will be many layers of meaning alluded to in the end.

The villagers know. They bought him home. Chartrand came but I don’t think the villagers met him as he stood at the back and left early.

I don’t remember – do the Villagers know about Peter (very end of story) and/or Chartrand? If not, I can’t wait for Ruth’s reaction. LOL! I’m gonna have to reread the last chapter.

So many things I want to comment on… But seems my computer is sick. Road trip tomorrow to take it to ‘urgent care’.
Anna, Into The Woods didn’t even occur to me. Duh! 😀
Diane, great comments & questions. I liked Chartrand…
Others… Chomping at the bit. I see good stuff in store for us all.
Till my computer is healthy again….

I know exactly what you mean Cathryne. She was in waiting so to speak so not fully free to be anything she might have desired to be. Unlike Peter, I felt she was tethered while he was free to roam and explore.

Diana, I thought I might be seeing some honeysuckle too. I find it overpowering and almost suffocating. Some people love it. Interesting already!

Anna, I agree, Clara needs more time to develop her independence and, I think, a sense of who she is. Even though I am interested in Marcel Chartrand, she needs time before starting a new romantic relationship. During the year Peter was gone, Clara was independent but not independent.

Hi Diane. We love new people. So glad you dropped in and welcome.

I have great empathy for you looking after your Mum. I had my mum with me for four years but it became very draining so it was time for a facility. I still have dad with me.

There are no good solutions to the problem of demented elderly. There are still days when I want to take her home again but I know it won’t work.

Julie, such a sad story about your stepdaughter. That is even harder in so many ways. They have recognised that problem in Australia and are opening some specific places for young people who need care but of course they are very limited.

A friend and I were talking yesterday about moving in with friends as we get older and hiring a nurse!

Love the cover. Very spooky indeed…I kept thinking “Into the Woods” Millie! The dark heart of the forest. But as to plant identification…….hah, no way.

Clara’s new man Diana…good topic. I hate change so have an instant recoil from him but I suspect that is just my reticence in part. I think a new character will bring new interest and great speculative fun from us. I must say that I was looking forward to seeing Clara grow in her independence for a while longer and discovering who she can be without Peter.

The cover – upper, left hand corner… could that be honeysuckle? IMHO, the rest just seems your normal “normal” growth walking through a forest.

@Anna – terrible sorry it was time for mom to go into a facility. I’m caretaker for my mom these last 3 years. She has early dementia with severe memory loss. She has only up to 3 minutes of memory. I’m an only child and am very blessed that she is still knows who I am and who she is.

I think the cover is wonderful, too, and agree with your “It beckons one to enter and explore, while alarms are going off simultaneously to be cautious. Brilliant!” The outdoorsy nature is inviting to walk through, but the darkness is a warning to beware. And look at the double meaning of the title – Nature as shown with the framework of the plants, but also “the nature of” http://www.yourdictionary.com/in-the-nature-of

And, what or who is “the beast” – inner demons or just a nasty person (killer)?

Okay, questions for everyone: about Clara – do you think this new man will continue to be in her life? Do you want this new man to be in her life? I won’t post why Clara may have a new man in her life so not to spoil it for others who may find and participate and not read all the books, yet, but I think its okay to talk about the new guy she met.

Oh, miss Clara. I want very much for her to HAVE a new man in her life, but not this one! I don’t trust him. I can’t put my finger on why, other than that he seemed so sly and secretive in TLWH. I think that Louise meant for us not to trust him, but that may have just been a red herring… and certainly, the end of TLWH seemed to indicate that Clara was okay with him. I ought to trust her judgment, but there’s something about him…. I also kind of think that maybe Clara needs to be alone for awhile longer to really get comfortable with herself. Even though she had that year, for a lot of it, she was still thinking herself “with” Peter… Of course, I don’t know what will happen – Louise is very good at doing the opposite of what I think she’ll do with the characters, so who knows? This new man may turn out to be the salt of the earth, hahaha.

Yes, Millie, I’ve read them all and have introduced Louise to many people.

LOL, not to worry, understand this type of blog is just for people to enjoy themselves. 🙂

Thanks for the warm welcome, Julie. I made a couple of posts in the “tour” page, too. My local library just started a mystery book club this past Jan (Burbank’s Buena Vista Branch in California). I introduced them to Louise Penny’s series with our Feb book. I just checked out their mystery blog and found this very interesting website. Will let the group know about this site, too; we meet again this coming Tues.

From our Library’s website http://deathinthestacks.blogspot.com/ It allows people to sent recommendations for new mystery books.

If I may, (LOL, you guys have no choice since I’m going to post anyways) two years ago I discovered a fabulous mystery writers’ conference called Left Coast Crime. Its held during the first quarter of the calendar year in Western North America, as defined by the Mountain Time Zone and all time zones westward to Hawaii.

I was so fortunate and found them and went to this location http://www.leftcoastcrime.org/2014/ On top of, I was able to meet, talk with (briefly) and get a hug from Louise, who was the Intl Guest of Honor that year. I wasn’t able to attend the gathering in Portland this year, but am a little bit involved behind the scenes for Phoenix. I wont go into detail here since its all at the websites, but its the most author-friendly experience. Its fascinating to see authors attending the panel discussions to learn more about their craft from other authors. And, yes, Louise attended 2 or 3 panels (that I know of) and was on a couple of panels herself. When I find my notes from her conference interview, I’ll post them. I do remember that Gamache’s good qualities are based on her husband. That’s all I can remember at the moment so don’t want to post anything wrong or misleading.

Here is a great article about LCC and why one should attend –

Annie and Millie are you writing mysteries? I ask because this conference has a “meet the new authors” breakfast for first time published and you are eligible to sign up to be on a panel. Except for the guests of honors, everyone pays their own way whether an author is on a panel or not.

Hello Diane S and welcome. Goodness, the last 3 pages are not indicative at all of what ‘The Bistro” is usually like. So glad you took a chance anyway. The warmth and support I’ve found here like my own ‘Balm of Giliad’ and once, I likened The Bistro to our own ‘Garden of Cosmic Speculation’. Yes, our topics run all over the place. Wherever anyone chooses to go while we twiddle our thumbs waiting for TNOTB!
Have you read all the books in the series? I don’t want to give away any spoilers if you haven’t.

Not a clue, unfortunately. But there does seem to be a tree branch in the right hand side and a tiny hint of a flower on the left. I thought, “How very like Louise to insert right on the cover a hint of life, of hope, of kindness even in the most foreboding of places.
I hope this doesn’t sound too silly, but a childhood song popped into my head when I noticed the flower: “I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.” Perhaps silly, but it also speaks to that entire discussion about sense of identity.
Labels are, unfortunately sometimes, the shorthand of the brain or mind to quickly identify things. And here we are trying to identify the foliage on the cover. This group does amaze.

Hello All!!! It seems not to many people know about this blog section so for newbies it reads as a private discussion. But, I’m jumping in and have just alerted a couple of people of my “find”. LOL! I only read the last 3 pages so will just say I watched the first season of “Abby”. Tried season 2, but like some said the cattiness was a big turn off and I wasn’t impressed with the acting (except M Smith) and never went back. It will never replace UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS.

Hi, Diane – welcome! We started out about a year ago, discussing all the books during a “re-read” while we waited for the release of The Long Way Home. Then we discussed that book when it came out. By that time, a small core of us had gotten so envigorated by our discussions that we didn’t want to “let it go” – so by the generous graces of Paul Hochman and Minotaur Books, we were able to hang around the Bistro and talk about whatever we wanted while we waited for “Nature of the Beast”. But we do NOT want to be exclusive of anyone. Please jump in, and you’ll find that there’s a seat in the Bistro with your name on it. Anytime anyone would like to steer discussion back to the books, we’ll be happy to chime in, I’m sure. Meantime, our imaginations have run wild, we’ve gotten to know each other, and day-to-day issues have taken over somewhat. One of our member (Anna) has just published her first novel, and it’s a smasher! And another (Millie) is working on hers. Both inspired by Louise. So jump on in – the water’s fine! (not F.I.N.E.) 😀

LOL, Julie. I had heard of the definition of F.I.N.E. decades ago, but the E. stood for ‘Emotional’ rather than ‘Egotistical’… That definition describes me oh so well some days, ‘alas’! 😉

Hello dear ones, my Chiro & physio take huge chunks of my time but I’m looking forward to reading more of the many great topics offered to ponder. But just had to share this. Louise’s next book’s cover.
WOW! It beckons one to enter and explore, while alarms are going off simultaneously to be cautious. Brilliant!


Oh, even more, it reminds me of The Brutal Telling, which, though not my favorite, keeps coming back to me as one of the most compelling of the stories… It’s one where everything seemed to get turned on its ear, for one thing… I don’t know how I can wait, hahaha.

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